Monday, November 21, 2016

Release Blast: Consolation Prize by Linda Kage

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Forbidden Men #9
Linda Kage
Released Nov 17th, 2016

Don't you just hate it when someone destroys all your carefully made plans?

I mean, I had goals: college to graduate in one semester, a future I was working hard to reach, and an image of myself I wanted the world to see. My life was stacked into these precisely placed blocks. But then Colton Gamble came along and knocked them all askew.

I hated how he messed everything up, how he could hog all my attention whenever he was around, how he made my pulse quicken--but only because he ticked me off...not because I was attracted to him. Oh! And I hated how he knew how attractive he was too, the shallow, full of himself, doesn't take no for an answer, too-flirty, too cocky, extremely irritating jerk.

The boy had all the qualities that turned me off. Or so I thought.

One night he wasn't quite the brainless, over-confident jerk I usually took him for.

One night, he took care of me when I was at my lowest. He opened up to me and made me open up to him.

Now I'm learning maybe he's not what I first thought he was. And maybe I'M not what I first thought I was. Maybe it’s okay to rearrange a couple of my perfectly set blocks. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop worrying about what I’m afraid everyone else will think and finally reach for something I really want. It’s possible some of my plans need to be destroyed, and Colton Gamble is exactly the kind of mess I need in my life.

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Desperately seeking your advice,
Julianna Radcliffe

“Juli can’t stop staring at you tonight.”
“Juli?” That name perked me to immediate attention. “Julianna’s here?”
I followed Asher’s gaze to a dimly-lit table in the back corner that bordered the dance floor. It was empty save for one individual, one of the loveliest individuals to grace the planet.
I have no clue how she did it, but Julianna Radcliffe always managed to look equal parts disdainfully untouchable and wet-dream sexy.
Tonight, her dress was pure sin. She wore a long, strapless light gray number that had a front slit, exposing a perfectly toned leg most the way up her thigh and a bustier top that hugged proud, ample breasts. The paleness of her dress made the tone of her skin appear even darker than usual, which made my stomach knot with tension because I yearned to investigate all that dark-dark skin, see how it felt under my hands, how it tasted against my tongue, how it trembled when I stroked it.
Yet I knew without a shadow of a doubt there was no way that would ever happen, because that lady right here was a ball breaker. You could tell it by the straight-backed, poised way she held herself, as if she might as well be behind a boardroom table, doling out punishments to her inferior insubordinates, and by the way she had no tolerance for stupidity or players. I swear, her stare alone could shrivel a guy’s family jewels to impotent nothingness. I usually had the itching urge to cover my junk whenever I talked to her.
And yet she was an irresistible challenge to idiots like me. Not just because she was model-worthy stunning, which she was. Nothing on her was ever out of place; it always struck me with the urge to mess her up…in the best ways possible. But because I felt the need to be the exception to the rule, the one who got past her defenses and scaled that impossible mountain.
Brandt groaned.
I glanced at him, forcing my brain back to the problem at hand, that being Julianna and her inability to take her eyes off my newly married brother. “Hasn’t it been months since you and she were over?” I asked, confused.
He sent me a sharp glance. “Over? We never started. There’s nothing to be over. Juli and I didn’t even finish the one date we went on.”
Asher sniffed. “Well, it looks as if she’s still willing to finish it.”
“Dammit.” Brandt glanced toward his wife. “I hope Sarah doesn’t see her watching me. I don’t want anything upsetting her on our wedding day.”
Asher shook his head. “So, why’d you even invite Juli?”
“I work with her.” Brandt moodily tugged at the collar of his tux.
It seemed odd to me that someone so classically beautiful worked in a nightclub as a bartender. To me, Julianna clearly belonged on a runway, displaying the latest fashion, or—
“It would’ve been strange to invite everyone else and leave her out. Besides, we’re still friends. She’s probably my favorite coworker.”
“Hey,” Asher muttered, offended since he occasionally bartended at Forbidden with Brandt too.
Brandt rolled his eyes. “You don’t count.”
But that only seemed to confuse Asher more. “Why don’t I count?”
Ignoring him, Brandt brought his hand up to his mouth so he could chew on his thumbnail. “We need to distract her somehow. Someone needs to...” Trailing off, he turned slowly toward me, and the intent in his gaze was pretty damn clear.
I paused mid-sip. “Wait, what? You can’t possibly want me to distract her?”

The Forbidden Men is one of my favorite seris by Linda Kage, because while each book is different, it all has the same elements, strong characters, a well built back story,  a surrounding cast that make the story feel even more relatable, and a whole lot of emotion. 

One of the things that make these stories so relatable is the contiuation of stories of previous characters, even though the main focus of a book is it's couple, there's always bits and pieces of the other characters. Tiny glimpses into their daily life, celebrating a new joy, or feeling sorrow with them.  This particular book brought us quite a bit of scenes with previous characters and I love how it all comes together. Each of these extra little scenes just builds up how all of these characters, all of the men and women really have made themself into a family.  I really enjoyed that we started the story at Brandt and Sarah's wedding, I think it was very fitting.  

As with other books in this series, Linda Kage battles a few different situations within this book, the main one in this story was of the interracial relationship aspect.  It was interesting to see Juliette fight her feelings for Colton over her fear of what others would think of their relationship and also because she herself is shocked to feel that attraction, after having been crushing on his brother for a while.  I felt like Linda Kage handled Juliette's fears and questions very well, it was a different feeling for her to imagine a real relationship could emerge with Colton, and so while she'd crushed on Brandt for a long time, there was never any real possibility there, so she never had to face their differences head on.  

I really enjoyed the closeness between Colton and Juliette, how they really opened up to each other, and though they were so different, somehow they just clicked.  Of course, being a book in this series, it was no surprise that things weren't so simple. I loved the interactions between Colton and Juliette, from when Colton wanted to get a rise out of her, to when Juliette was battling against attraction, to when they finally realized they might have something between them.  Watching as they went from friends to more was a really interesting journey. I loved that they both were shocked at how much chemistry there really was between them.   Colton comes off as a cocky, charming, guy, but there's a lot more to him, a lot he hides.  Juliette has a silent strength, she's smart but sassy, full of plans but also insecurities, she's not someone you can really figure out quickly.   I really loved the play of the differences between these two, where Juliette knows what she wants and has plans, and Colton's more finding his way unsure of where he'll end up. 

If you are looking to read a book where both the Hero and Heroine are strong and fun and they deliver a story with an emotional impact and impart some sort of lesson, then Consolation Prize and the previous books in this series are the perfect book choice. 


Linda Kage grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now she lives in Kansas with her husband, daughter, and nine cuckoo clocks. Her life's been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing's always been a major part of her world, and she is so happy to finally share some of her stories with other romance lovers.

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