Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Blog Tour/Excerpt/Review ~ Ruthless by Lexi Blake @authorlexiblake @InkSlingerPR

A Lawless Novel
By Lexi Blake
Coming August 9, 2016

The first in a sexy contemporary romance series featuring the Lawless siblings—from New York Times bestselling author Lexi Blake.

The Lawless siblings are bound by vengeance. Riley, Drew, Brandon, and Mia believe the CEO of StratCast orchestrated their parents’ murder twenty years ago to steal their father’s software program. And there’s only one way Riley can find some solid evidence...

Heir to the StratCast legacy, Ellie Stratton hires a new attorney to handle a delicate business matter—and she’s shocked by her attraction to him. Over the course of a few weeks, Riley becomes her lover, her friend, her everything. But when her life is threatened, Ellie discovers that Riley is more obsessed with settling an old score than in the love she thought they were building. And Riley must choose between a revenge he’s prepared for all his life and the woman he’s sure he can’t live without...

“Why did you do that?”

It was the first time she’d spoken without being prompted. “Do what?”
Her face flushed the sweetest pink. The color went all the way down that sexy V-neck. Her breasts flushed as well as her face, and it made his damn dick tighten. “Kiss me. Why did you kiss me like that?”
Oh, so many reasons, but he gave her the most compelling one. “I wanted to.”
The minute she’d opened the door and he’d seen her standing there looking anxious, he’d known how to calm her down. All he’d had to do was put his hands on her and some odd connection flared between the two of them. She hadn’t fought him. He could have gone on kissing her. He’d been the one to pull away.
It was like the minute he walked in, he was the only thing that existed for her. It made him feel ten feet tall, but it also made him want to please her.

It was an unsettling sensation.

Her hands came up, fingers on the sides of the table. “You know what I’m asking. You knew I wasn’t alone. Why did you pretend to be my boyfriend?”
It was easy to see she’d wanted him to wait for her at the restaurant so as to avoid him meeting her sister and ex. When she’d opened the door, he’d immediately known something was wrong. He’d gotten a glimpse of her sister and known Ellie had likely needed a hand. It had to be tough on a woman’s ego to lose even a pathetic excuse of a husband to a younger sister.
“You were alone with your sister who slept with your husband. Excuse me. Ex-husband.”
She shook her head. “At the time, we were definitely married. How did you know he was my ex-husband?”
“He took half your net wealth. I’m your lawyer. At this level, a good lawyer is less legal counsel and more war consultant. I can’t properly perform my duties if I don’t know everything about you, including the fact that you tend to have terrible taste in men.”
She frowned. “I haven’t had a ton of boyfriends. I’m not sure what my taste is.”
He really wanted to understand why she’d married that obvious prick. “What attracted you to him? Because from where I was standing, he looked like a dickwad desperate to be twenty-one again.”
She bit into her bottom lip, her eyes glancing away from him. “He wasn’t always like that. I actually met him when he was twenty-one. He was far more mature then.”
He liked her candor. “You were in college?”
“Last year of undergrad. We dated for two years and then it seemed like it was time to get married. We’d moved back here to Manhattan so I could take my place at StratCast. I thought he was going to go to grad school, but he decided on a different path.”
“What path was that?”

A single brow rose over her right eye. “You don’t know?”

Of course he knew. He knew everything. “Are you referring to your ex-husband’s penchant for swinging for the fences? When it comes to investments, that is.”
It was what he liked to call “idiots who funded ridiculous ideas.” They never wanted a simple profit out of their money. They wanted millions and really fucking fast. They swung for the grand slam when all they needed to do was get on base.
It took a true genius to take a single idea and make millions off it. Drew had.
Her shoulders straightened. “He wanted the easy solution. A get-rich-quick scheme. He wasn’t that way at first. At one point he was very intellectual. It’s what attracted me to him. He was curious about the world and liked to discuss everything from politics to social jus- tice to movies we saw. He changed. I didn’t. In some ways, I blame getting involved with me for what happened to him. He got around my father and real wealth and wanted some of his own. When I met him, he wanted to be a professor. He wanted to teach.”
At least he’d gotten her this far. She was talking. Now he needed to get those shoulders down from around her earlobes. For one moment, for that moment when he’d drawn her into his arms and pressed his mouth to hers, she’d relaxed against him, given over to him. Her body had softened and she’d leaned into him, and if he’d pressed her, he didn’t know what would have happened. She might have continued kissing him, forgetting all about the other people in the room. He could have cupped her breast, her ass. Put his hands anywhere he liked.
She hadn’t given a damn that they hadn’t been alone. All she’d cared about was him.

4.5 Stars

Lexi Blake is one of my favorite BDSM novelist and the absolute best when it comes to writing erotic stories that are not only off the charts steamy, but intriguing as well. Yeesh, found within the pages of her books are some of the sexiest flogger-wielding Alpha-Doms ever. (I freaking love all the McKay-Taggart hotties in the Masters and Mercenaries novels). When finding out there was a new series coming along, I jumped at the chance to get my hands on the first installment, Ruthless.

Even though Riley and Ellie’s romance was a departure from Blake’s BDSM style that I adore, it was no less captivating. Ruthless had everything I love whenever reading this author’s tales ~ an exceptionally written nail biting story line whose plot twists had me on edge; An un-be-lievably hot yet romantically sweet hero; a sassy heroine; And a cast of colorful characters that left me wanting to discover their stories. From the emotionally heartbreaking prologue that had me all teary-eyed, through to the last page, Ruthless was an angst filled passionate read that I consumed in just one sitting.

As children, Riley Lawless and his siblings suffered the horrific tragedy of their parents’ murder, which was rooted by corporate greed. After years of plotting and positioning, it was time for those responsible to pay for their crimes. It was Riley’s responsibility to insinuate himself into Eleanor Stratton’s company and seduce her. Her firm, StratCast, was founded on stolen technology and his parents’ blood shed. Regardless of the fact that Ellie was not directly responsible for the Lawless’ death, she was instrumental in the grand scheme.
“The sins of the father were about to be visited on the daughter’s doorstep. Ellie Stratton would have to pay her father’s debt.”

Using her was just part of the plan. Consumed with vengeance, Riley was ruthless in his pursuit of bringing down his targets but surprised when the unthinkable happened… he fell hopelessly in love with Ellie.

“I love you, Ellie. I'm going to say it until you understand that I mean it. This started out as a job, as a path I've been on since the night my parents died. But it led me to you, and though I wish my mom and dad were here with me, I have to be happy that I found you.”

The chemistry between this couple was scorching. With their whirlwind insta-romance starting off hot and heavy, but based on Riley’s secrets and lies, I found myself anxiously holding my breath waiting for everything to unravel as the story progressed. All the passion and deceits frayed my nerves.  On top of all the relationship angst, there were plot twists, bad guys and circumstances that had me on edge as well. Secrets, betrayals, murderous plots, unending suspense… with each revelation more questions arose as I became fully immersed within Riley and Ellie’s story. I just love when a book is so gripping, each intricate detail has a meaning, and I’m forced to pay close attention while piecing together the puzzle. Ruthless was exactly that type of read.

Riley was delectably sexy and so tenderhearted, he had me swooning. A shrewd lawyer with a plan of attack, he was fueled by his family’s need for justice. I loved the way his character journeyed from the stone cold man solely focused on revenge, to a true and dedicated hero willing to sacrifice everything for Ellie. And when her world came crumbling down, it was Riley who came to her rescue. Desperate for her forgiveness and affections, Riley worked hard to right the all wrongs that destroyed Ellie, despite his family’s thirst for vengeance. Once deceptive and later sincere, he won me over with his overly romantic ways.
 “He'd seen everything he loved lost at one point or another, but she was different. He couldn't lose her.”

Poor Ellie. She was everyone’s pawn and so eager to trust those who were part of her close circle. Friends, colleagues, family… all took advantage of her sympathetic heart. A businesswoman with ethics, Ellie found herself surrounded by conniving vipers, including the man of her dreams. Living a lonely life, she took a chance on Riley, which in the end shattered her to pieces.

As naive and insecure as she first appeared, Ellie developed a backbone when her life spun out of control, and I admired the way she stubbornly stood her ground against those who betrayed her. But above all, Ellie was compassionate and regardless of her dire circumstances, she opened her heart to the entire Lawless clan. In the end, her love for Riley was genuine ~ she was the perfect woman to break through all of his defenses and help heal past heartaches.

Ruthless was an extremely intense novel that had all the feels. I loved the McKay-Taggart connection and the Lawless family dynamics. Riley and Ellie’s journey was just the beginning of an intricate story line and I can’t wait for it to continue in Brandon and Andrew’s romances. Another great read from Lexi Blake and a perfect choice for lovers of steamy romantic suspense.

NY Times and USA Today bestselling author Lexi Blake lives in North Texas with her husband, three kids, and the laziest rescue dog in the world. She began writing at a young age, concentrating on plays and journalism. It wasn't until she started writing romance and urban fantasy that she found the stories of her heart. She likes to find humor in the strangest places and believes in happy endings no matter how odd the couple, threesome, or foursome may seem.

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