Thursday, September 3, 2015

Blog Tour ~ Hold On (The 'Burg Series Book 6) by Kristen Ashley @KristenAshley68
Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn't in the cards for her.
In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.

Amazingly beautiful and poignant finale to one of my favorite series.  
5 brilliant stars

Once again, Kristen Ashley owned my heart and soul as her unique writing style and storytelling magic caused a whirlwind of emotions, I had no choice but to hold on tight, never wanting to let go of Merry, Cher and all my loves in The ‘Burgs. Reading Hold On took me to an entirely different level as the journey flooded my heart with a riotous amount of emotions. I’ve become tethered to these characters, feeling their passions, pains, heartaches and joys. This friendship turned true love story was touching, but what made this an absolute literary masterpiece was its brilliant epiloguethe best I’ve ever read. So, break out the Kleenex, you’ll need them.
Jumping into this read had me feeling both melancholy and anxious.  I was a bundle of nerves and couldn’t wait to crawl inside of Merry’s head. He fascinated me since Golden Trail (Rocky and Layne’s book).  Throughout most of this series, he was pining over his ex-wife Mia, his supposed ‘soul mate’. I thought he wanted to fight and win Mia back. Next thing I knew, Cher’s really into Merry, but there were some unanswered questions. How and why did Merry push Mia away? When did a relationship with Cher become a possibility? Can Merry shake off his man-whorish ways and convince me he wants to win Cher’s heart? In addition, Merry’s story marks the end of one of my most beloved series, I had to get myself ready to say goodbye. With all of this in mind, I savored the hell out of this read. Taking my time to absorb every heart stopping drama filled moment, each plot twist, the hilarious banter between the main characters and every steamy love scene (Merry’s all Alpha-Dominant ass-smacking sizzling hot), while discovering the beauty of their relationship.  I should never doubt the course KA lays out. Merry and Cher were perfect for each other, feeding their desires while soothing their insecurities and working through a shit ton of baggage.  
In a word, Cher “Cherie” Rivers is a survivor.

Former stripper turned bartender, Cher is a hard working single mom to the adorably witty Ethan.  At first glance, she definitely gave me the tough chick, hard-as-nails vibe, which I adore (I tend to favor strong female leads). However, there’s so much more to her persona.  She’s thick skinned, stubborn and overly cautious since dealing with so many disappointments in her life. She’s a woman whose experiences taught her the rough lesson that dreams do not come true.   Poor Cher, she had my sympathies as well as my respect. I loved her realistic views towards life. She’s not a woman who wallows in life’s misfortunes, but one who perseveres and makes the most out of her circumstances.  I admired her protective motherly ways she sacrifices greatly for her son and when digging deep, I saw her soft, ‘gooey’ side. 
Cher may be unrefined, but she is true to her family and friends. It’s her loyalty to Merry, when he was at his lowest, which led to a night of unbridled passion. After years of loving him from afar, her dream actually came true. Now she’s panicked that their one night tryst would either ruin the friendship or it could (hopefully) lead to something more…that means taking a chance on Merry. I so wanted Cher to finally find happiness and her dream man.

The extremely sexy, outrageously dominant Lieutenant Garrett “Merry” Merrick is the perfectly flawed, self-sabotaging hero. 

The horrific way he lost his mom scarred him so greatly; deep-seeded fears from the trauma led to a failed marriage and crippled future relationships.  When finding out his ex-bitch-wife Mia (oh yeah, she’s a major bitch-face) was moving on, Merry decided to have himself a pity party. The only person to have his back was Cher, which led to not only one night of hot sex and multiple orgasms, but also the possibility of more.

It took a tiny bit of time for me to warm up to Merry. He had a hard, uneasy side in the beginning of the story that had me on edge.  There were times he pissed me off and I wanted to smack some sense into him, snapping him out of his funk. Although, it didn’t take Merry long to open up and show me all his beauty. I couldn’t help but fall in love with his gentle, protective side. I adored how hard he worked to break down Cher’s impenetrable walls, while trying his best to move past his fears. Merry also had me feeling all gushy the way he took Ethan under his wing and effortlessly became part of their small family.

Merry is a controlling and dominating force in the bedroom. Their fierce sexual chemistry ignited my kindle as Merry proved repeatedly that he is one hell of a dirty-mouthed badass who likes it when his good girl’s being bad.Totally scrumptious. 
I loved them together both Cherie and Merry were powerful, dynamic characters that sometimes collided and were frequently sarcastic. They were as funny as they were passionate, and the things that came out of their mouths were hysterical.

“You grabbin’ my hand practically before I could get in your door and draggin’ me to your bedroom so you could shove me on your bed and get your mouth on my dick?” His hold on me tightened slightly. “Awesome.”
“You have a great cock,” I shared.
His hips shifted and his smile didn’t get any less cocky. “It likes you too.”

Now there’s always that one person in each KA series that I refer to as ‘The Sage’. That one special character that puts everything into perspective by imparting their wisdom, which usually leaves me a blubbering mess. For me, it was Dave Merrick, Merry’s dad. Father and son shared an enormously tender moment that was forever seared into my soul. Dave, a man burdened with his own pain and regrets, lovingly takes his son’s hand and guides him into the light. Dave lays it all out for his son, telling him to grab hold and fight against these fears with the help and love of a strong woman that woman being Cherie. It was one of the most touching moments in this read.

As I reached the 95% mark on my kindle, heart palpitations and panic set in when reading the one word that made me realize this is itthe end of an eraEPILOGUE.  Holding my breath, I pushed forward and became fully engrossed in the best ending I have ever read, bar none. Told from various points of view and spanning over a decade, Kristen Ashley gifted a phenomenal insight into the lives and loves of all The ‘Burgs characters. Weaving each saga within this series together, tying all loose ends into one spool of thread, KA magnificently spun all of the happily ever afters I craved.  It was a beautiful pain seeing all these characters one last time. I laughed, I swooned, I cried happy tears (Joe Callahan made me sobagain), and I was overjoyed with the journey this author paved.  

My heart is so full right now that it's nearly overflowing. When a series that has given me so much beauty comes to and end its bittersweet. 
Kristen did perfect justice to Merry and Cher.

 The way she brought these two together was absolutely brilliant. It was a delicate balance with Merry's past. Cher was not only a kick ass heroine, she was full on strong woman. At times that strength pushed her walls too high but thanks to inside and outside influences those walls stood no chance against what fate had in store for these two. 
When Kristen creates a hero, she takes every part of what's good and solid in the world and adds in bad ass and attitude along with honor and loyalty. Garrett Merry Merrick was all of the above with some really smart-assed elements thrown in. He needed that edge and that sarcasm to deal with all that was Cher.

 Merry was such a real man, one who wasn't afraid to take care of his woman and by extension everything and everyone who mattered to her. I simply kept wanting to shout YES so many times because this man really was perfect even when he wasn't. The heat in this book was above and beyond the hottest ever. There were blazing love scenes that left me feeling deeply and every single one had such profound emotional depth. Scenes that had me read them more than once. More than erotic, more than passionate. Sheer beauty that takes your breath away. 

Then I could go on and on about the cast of fabulous characters that Kristen sprinkled throughout . From the painful yet healing conversations between Dave and Merry that had me in tears and gosh I just felt like my heart would burst. The sweetest moments between Merry and Rocky ..ahh the swooning that Merry caused. Such a loving brother and friend. Then Cher building friendships with the ladies of the Burg. So many laugh out loud moments. Even the funny moments between Merry and Mike.

Mike grinned at the windshield.
 “Domestic bliss already?”
“Don’t know, but you’ll be the second to know when I do.”
Mike chuckled.

  From laughing together and even when Mike pissed Merry off simply was authentic Kristen Ashley.  The one thing I love about the relationships that this brilliant author creates is that they seem just real like friendships are realistic in the fact these guys might argue but in the end of the day they have each others back. Just like family. So every single character that showed their face in this epic read had my full attention. There was a star though and he wasn't a bad ass yet but was on his way to being one in full force. Yes, Ethan stole the show. That little man was amazing and brave. More names from so many books in the series that  just added that Kristen Ashley fantastic edge. Love . passion, suspense and family this series will always be held dear to my heart. Seeing favorites and revisiting stories had me in tears that were bittersweet. Of course even though I wanted it to go on and on..the end had to come.
There is no one out there that can do magic in a epilogue like this superbly talented author. So many insights of the futures of our favorites and maybe hopefully .. Crossing fingers and toes ..insights in to future story lines.
No matter what Kristen .. Girl you are just full up with author badass brilliance. Write on lady..we can't wait for what you have in store for us. 

The entire 'Burg Series

Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.

I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.

“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”

My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.

“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.

“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.

“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.

“Step back,” I demanded.

“No,” he denied.

I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.

They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.

I glared at him from closer.

He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.

He was getting off on this.

I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.

I wanted this done.

“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.

“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”

I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”

I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.

I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.

And doing it better.

He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”

I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.

I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”

“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”

I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”

That didn’t get me fire.

That got me ice.

“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”

That made me ice over.

“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”

He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.

“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”

I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.

But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.

“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”

I could stand.

I could stare.

But I couldn’t breathe.

Merry could.

He could also speak.

“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”

His words were lost on me.

I continued to stand.

I continued to stare.

But my lungs had started burning.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.

“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”

“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”

That was kind of funny as well as hot.

I still said nothing.

Merry fell silent and stared at me.

Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.

“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”

After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.

“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”

He closed the door on that.

I stood where he left me.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

What was I worth?

What was I worth to Merry?

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me away, put her back in her room, she looked out the window, and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). She remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.
Nothing’s changed.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the Queen of the World, but you gotta start small) and I’ve published a gazillion books and counting (and a gazillion is a lot! shoo!).You can learn about my titles that have been released or that are soon to be released in the Titles section of the website.
Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my books…humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, hopefully) and romance (definitely).
My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have and the latter, which takes money I rarely have). In fact, I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see top menu and don’t miss them, they’re awesome!).
I grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and have lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus I’m blessed to have friends and family around the globe. My family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write and growing up it was large and multi-generational. We all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.
So here I am, thank goodness.

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