Our winner of the combined A Beautiful Distraction giveaway is – Lysette.
We’re giving away a copy of A Beautiful Distraction courtesy of the publisher. If you are entered in our Friday giveaway, you’ll be entered in this one and vice versa.
Giveaway ends Thursday, May 8th. Open to U.S. residents, 18 years and older.
ORDER A COPY: A Beautiful Distraction: A Hard Feelings Novel
Publisher: NAL Trade
Publishing Date: May 6, 2014
Paperback: 272 pages
Rating: 4 stars
First Sergeant Rafe Murano did everything to the extreme. He trained harder, he fought harder, and, unfortunately, he loved harder. And falling for the wrong woman nearly destroyed him.
Home from a deployment, and without his missions to consume him, Murano is ravaged by memories of his heartbreak. So he drinks until he’s numb and drowns himself in meaningless one-night stands. But they only take the edge off…
Until he meets Fallon.
Haunted by her past, Fallon Kelly knows all too well about the desperate desire for an escape. So when she sees the tatted-up bad boy who’s one punch away from a ride in the back of a squad car, she offers a distraction—one that quickly becomes an addiction.
Little does she know, this bad boy can love so hard, it can break her.
Rafe Murano had turned into a man he never expected to be. That’s because he fell in love with the wrong woman. Bridget was married. Although Rafe can tell himself that he didn’t know that at the beginning, he continued to see her once he learned the truth. For a man who doesn’t share his woman, he found himself desperate for any time she gave him after sneaking away from her husband. Now it’s over and Rafe is left with a broken heart over a woman who was never really his, and using alcohol and one night stands to distract himself from his heartache.
When he arrives at Velour, he doesn’t expect anything more than the same to get him through is night, but from the first moment he sees Fallon dancing on that stage in the burlesque show, he wants more from her than a night of sex. Fallon is happy to give the attractive and intriguing soldier a night of distraction since she too is looking for a distraction from her own. But Fallon has been let down before by those who she loved and she is not looking to get too close to anyone again. She doesn’t like the warm feeling she gets when she is with Rafe or how he makes her feel cherished. She knows that is only a lie. Meeting Rafe’s family only reinforces how screwed up her own upbringing was.
The harder Rafe tries to hold onto Fallon, the harder she fights to retain her independence from the feelings Rafe brings out in her. When Rafe declare he doesn’t was Fallon dancing anymore, she fears she has once again set herself up when she doesn’t measure up to someone else’s standards for her.
Can Rafe and Fallon find a middle ground that will make them both happy, or will they both walk away with a heart so shattered that no distraction will ever help?
I love Fallon’s strength. She is tossed out by her parents as a young teen because her choices do not measure up to their country club lifestyle. She forges on with only $100 in her pocket to make her own way in the world and eventually because the owner of Velour. Fallon was also abandoned by her hand-picked, picture perfect boyfriend because her choices interfered with his life plan. We can see how Fallon looses trust in people and why she resists Rafe, so that he too can’t be disappointed by her once she puts her trust in him. But instead of being cold and heartless, we see how much love and trust she gives to the people that work for her. She takes care of her girls and helps some of them back on their feet after life kicked them around. So it is a little strange how she views these relationships. The girls can be wrong and do disappoint her, but they can’t be disappointed by her. In getting close to Rafe, and especially his declaring that he doesn’t want her dancing in front of other men anymore, he makes her feel that she is once again a failure and a disappointment, and that’s a vulnerability she doesn’t want to feel again.
I am uncertain is Rafe is just the type of man who is attracted to women who are unavailable or is it just bad luck. He falls hard for the married woman, who is a bit of a bitch and a user so I have to ask “what’s the attraction?” and in the end, it is she who breaks it off. Rafe would have continued to see her even though he hated himself for ruining her marriage and for being such a loser to take the few hours a week she would give him. Rafe then turns to drinking and casual sex instead of trying to meet someone else and give them a chance. It is only after seeing Fallon dance with such passion and then spending time with her before the sex that he takes more of an interest in her and the more she fights the commitment, the more he wants from her. So is he one of those guys who always wants the woman he can’t have or is it just bad luck?
Rafe’s family enjoyed the spotlight in this book as well and I found them to be very interesting and enjoyable characters, but sadly I don’t see a reason to be meeting them again. Rafe’s younger brother follows in Rafe’s footsteps by having his heartbroken by a woman and becoming self-destructive. Since this series, so far, is focused on soldiers, I don’t know if we will ever get more from him or how his situation turns out. I hate when we get invested in great secondary characters who won’t be back.
Overall it was another great story by Kelsie Leverich.
Received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
“You know, I’m struggling to figure you out,” he said.
She narrowed her eyes, sipping her drink. The chilled carbonation soothed and tingled her throat as she swallowed. “And why’s that?”
He pressed his glass to his lips and sucked in a leisurely sip of whiskey. She watched as his Adam’s apple rose, then fell as he swallowed; then she shifted her eyes back to his when he set the glass down.
This undeniable physical attraction she felt toward him was new for her. It was uncontrollable. Her traitorous body scorched with a need she wasn’t sure she was ready to give into yet. The last eight years had been nothing but calculated decisions made to keep people at arm’s length. Sexual relationships formed from want…not need. She’d never had the impulse—felt the need—to lean over, rest her hands on a man’s thighs, lick his neck…
Rafe’s tongue snaked across his bottom lip, lapping the lingering whiskey. “You don’t strike me as a woman who breaks the rules often. At least not her own rules.” His voice compelled her thoughts to retreat from the temptation she was feeling.
“I’ve followed and broken my fair share of rules. But you’re right—the only ones I’m concerned with following are my own.”
Mischief gleamed in his eyes. “And you’re breaking your rules for me?”
“Don’t get cocky. You needed a distraction, and I gave it to you. Besides, my bartender had called the cops and you were about ready to turn an ass kicking into involuntary manslaughter. I can’t be having an investigation at my club because you decided to play the hero.”
“He wasn’t that bad.”
She arched her brows. If that wasn’t denial, she didn’t know what was.
He laughed, tilting his head back toward the ceiling.
“Well, he had it coming.”
“You want to tell me about her?” Fallon asked as he looked back down at her.
She crossed her arms. He knew exactly who she was talking about. Not too many reasons a man like him is the way he is, and a woman was undoubtedly the reason. “The one who flipped you inside out. The woman you’re attempting to forget at the bottom of your glass.”
“No.” The volume of his voice lowered and the finality of his tone told her that little topic of conversation wasn’t up for discussion.
“Ah, the suffer-in-silence type. Sexy,” she said, trying to ease some of the sudden tension that hardened his expression.
Standing up from his chair, he picked up his glass and drank the remaining liquor, the glass clanking against the wood bar as he set it back down.
She studied him curiously as his demeanor transformed again. Anger, heartache, guilt—all whirring mutely through his posture.
Capturing her gaze, Rafe took a step toward her, and she swallowed hard. His intensity returned and she willingly shrank beneath it, reveling in the way his masculine stance made her feel crazed and delicate at the same time.
His hand fell to her knee and she swore the fire lit on the surface of her skin and ricocheted all the way down to her toes. Long fingers curled around her knees as he pulled her legs apart, pushing his thigh between hers. Her legs instantly closed, the insides of her thighs pressing against the outside of his. Arching her back, she leaned away to look at him, but he only advanced into her, preventing distance from growing between them.
God, he smelled so good. She wanted to coil her fingers into his shirt and pull him to her face so she could inhale.
But she was frozen. Motionless by the sheer power of his focus as his velvety dark eyes inched closer to her own. “You mentioned a distraction,” he whispered, lips lowering to the sensitive skin below her ear, waiting for her to answer.
“Yes,” she replied softly. His hand dropped down and his palm flattened against her hip—and if she hadn’t been so determined not to, she would’ve shuddered.
His fingers grazed up her side until the tip of his thumb brushed beneath her breast. “You’re right. I do need one.”
Warm breath bathed the side of her neck, causing her to involuntarily close her eyes. “And I want you to be that distraction for me tonight.”
With his right hand on her side and his left hand latched onto the edge of her barstool, she was trapped between his powerful arms. Arms she imagined would feel incredible wrapped around her.
She wanted to be that distraction for him, which was probably reason enough to say no. She didn’t have flings or random one-night stands. When she was with a man, it was planned and on her terms. It kept her in control. Sex that was brought on by intense sexual tension, desire, and pure wanton need was way too risky. Sex that was planned and initiated for raw, unadulterated pleasure with no other emotions attached was what she liked. Not spontaneous lust. Yet that was exactly what this was. Lust.
She was helpless against her body’s response to him, imprisoned by his eyes.
Curiosity and an unfamiliar longing swayed her, impulse overruling her. She would give him the distraction he needed. Just this once.