Saturday, 14 March 2015

Blog Tour: Soaring by Kristen Ashley + An Exclusive Excerpt

Disclaimer: I was given an ARC of Soaring and asked to participate in the Soaring blog tour by Kristen’s team. But as always, all opinions here are my own; I’m sassy like that.
Disclaimer 2: When Kristen first announced she was writing a series about older heroes and heroines, I was hesitant. These are characters who are nearing my parents age and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to relate to their life experiences or their attitudes. But I very quickly fell in love with Josie Malone and Jake Spear from The Will and I was ecstatic to hear that Mickey (who has a small but very charming and sexy role in the Will) was getting his own story. So, even if you’re a little hesitant to read about older characters, I guarantee you, you’ll love Soaring. It’s hot and sexy (understatement of the century!), heartbreaking and so incredibly sweet. It’s filled with Kristen’s trademark charm but has an uplifting sweetness that is unique to this series. The characters and the story will sweep you off your feet and you won’t want to come back down to Earth.
Book Blurb:
American heiress Amelia Hathaway needs to start anew.
Her husband cheated on her, and when everything she wanted in life slipped through her fingers, she fell apart. When she did, she took another heart wrenching hit as she lost the respect of her children.
When her ex took her family from California to live in the small town of Magdalene in Maine, Amelia decided it was time to sort herself out. In order to do that and win her children back, she moves to Cliff Blue, an architectural masterpiece on the rocky coast of Magdalene.
Her boxes aren’t even unpacked when she meets Mickey Donovan, a man who lives across the street, a man so beautiful Amelia takes one look at Mickey and knows she wants it all from him. The problem is, she finds out swiftly that he’s friendly, he’s kind, but he doesn’t want that back.
Amelia struggles to right past wrongs in her life at the same time find out who she wants to be. She also struggles with her attraction to the handsome firefighter who lives across the street. But Amelia will face a surprise when her friendly neighbor becomes not-so-friendly. As Amelia and Mickey go head to head, Amelia must focus on winning back the hearts of her children.
She soon discovers she also must focus on winning the heart of a handsome firefighter who understands down to his soul that the beautiful heiress who lives across the street is used to a life he cannot provide.
Book Review:
I first received Soaring in January and I thought to myself “I’ll just read one chapter, just to get started”. That turned into staying up until 4am so that I could finish. Since then, I’ve re-read it no less than 15 times. Each time I fall more and more in love with Magdalene and it’s rich cast of supporting characters (I cannot wait to learn more about Coert!). I loved being able to check in with Josie and Jake and their kids, and seeing Alyssa being such an incredible friend but in her own, hilarious and not-always-appropriate way. I loved meeting Mickey’s kids (though the story with Aisling broke my heart), and watching Amelia’s kids grow and change. But most of all, I loved Amelia.
Amelia is two decades older than me and is divorced with two kids. But her story is infinitely relatable. She comes to Magdalene a broken woman. She’s been beaten down by the man she loved and by her parents. She’s been taught that her self-worth lies in her relationship with an appropriate man and she feels that she’s not worth loving.  I read the first few chapters with tears in my eyes, it’s heartbreaking but in a very real and relatable way. She’s insecure and scared, she doesn’t understand who she is or how truly wonderful she is. Watching her grow, blossom and find herself was nothing short of beautiful. It was moving and emotional but very realistic. Her strength throughout the book was amazing, as was her sense of humour. I cheered when she stood up for herself, I was so freaking proud! Don’t get me wrong though, she’s not a perfect character. She’s sarcastic, stubborn and often makes decisions that make you want to smack her, but that’s just part of her overall charm and those attributes stop her from being too sickly sweet and unrealistic. As an heiress with so much money, she could have very easily been vapid, materialistic and irritating. But her depth of emotion, her strength and her ability to stand strong after being treated abominably, as well as her sense of humour and her sass,  make her an incredible character to read and I’m so very glad Kristen wrote her that way.
Now Mickey is all kinds of delicious. He’s been through hell with his ex-wife, and in many ways, has been beaten down just like Amelia was. His love for his kids was so beautiful; I adored every scene with them. Mickey is a guy who knows exactly who he is and what he wants, he’s bossy, opinionated and he sometimes makes stupid snap-judgements. But he’s also infinitely sweet and kind, even if it’s in a kind of rough and sexy way. He makes a lot of mistakes, but he’s also quick to apologise in very heartfelt ways. He works two jobs; one to keep a roof over his kids head and one that is his passion (he’s a fire-fighter and holy moly is he hot). He’s funny, so very sexy, dedicated and his strength and kindness is admirable and something I’d like to see in more heroes.
Soaring is a book full of incredible supporting characters. It’s a story full of richness, the plot is well fleshed out with plenty of little tangents about the supporting characters, their families and the town, that make it seem so very real. Most of all, the character progression and dialogue are incredibly realistic. It moves at a pace that makes sense and it’s a very easy book to get attached to. It’s heart-warming, heartbreaking and deeply heartfelt, it’s moving and beautiful but it’s also off-the-charts-sexy and hilarious.
Now, I’m not ashamed to admit I was a little hesitant to read sex scenes between people nearly old enough to be my parents…but holy moly Mickey and Amelia are off the charts hot! This book contains copious amounts of steamy, sexy and deeply erotic scenes that’ll knock your socks off and make you wish for a deep, lush bathtub (trust me!). I recommend reading it with a very cold glass of something delicious close by.
I’ve read every book Kristen Ashley has released and Soaring is absolutely one of my favourites. The dialogue is fantastic, the characters are rich and so realistic, and the town and supporting cast are so incredible, you won’t be able to stop yourself from sinking into the book. The plot is wonderful, realistic and very emotional. And the sex scenes, the sex scenes are beyond hot. With Soaring, Kristen has built on the truly magnificent world she built with The Will and has made it infinitely more loveable. Soaring will sweep you off your feet and I guarantee you won’t want to come back down to Earth.
Soaring can be read as a standalone, however given how awesome The Will is, I recommend reading it first, because everyone needs a little Jake Spear in their life. It releases eBook, print and audio on the 16th of March and will be available wherever you buy books. Take a peek below at the goodness in store for you!


By Kristen Ashley, 16 March 2015
“Hello, Boston Stone,” I greeted because I had no idea what else to say.
“You are?” he asked as I put the bags to the ground and touched the button on the trunk that would open it keyless.
As it glided open, I opened my mouth, doing it uncertain if I’d share my name or continue to try to brush him off, but I didn’t have the chance to decide.
I heard the word, “Babe,” growled from behind me.
I turned and saw Mickey stalking our way.
Not sauntering.
Not simply walking.
And he didn’t look happy.
“Mickey,” I called tentatively as a greeting, uncertain at his demeanor.
I hadn’t seen him since he hadn’t seen me (I hoped) at the movies.
He was in his firefighter-not-fighting-a-fire uniform of blue khakis and tee. His eyes were moving up and down my body. He still was unbelievably beautiful (that uniform…seriously).
He didn’t greet me back.
When he stopped, his gaze cut to Boston Stone and it went flinty.
“You need somethin’?” he asked incomprehensibly inhospitably.
“I was just helping this lovely lady with her groceries,” Stone responded.
“I got it,” Mickey stated flatly and then he got it. As in, he carefully pulled me back, grabbed the bags I was perfectly capable of picking up myself and placed them in my trunk.
He then went for the bag Stone was carrying, caught hold, but Stone didn’t let go.
“I can put it in the trunk myself, Donovan,” Stone clipped.
So they knew each other.
“As I said, I got it, Stone,” Mickey clipped back.
Yes, they knew each other.
The handles flattened as they both kept hold and pulled.
“Please!” I exclaimed. “We already had a wine incident. The sidewalk of Magdalene has been anointed with one red, let’s not anoint Cross Street with four.”
Mickey instantly let go and stepped back, running into me but he didn’t apologize or move away.
He stayed close, the back of his left side touching the front of my right.
It was at that point I noticed Mickey gave off a lot of heat.
Stone put the bag in my trunk, shut it and turned slowly to Mickey and me.
But he had eyes on Mickey.
“Are you two seeing each other?”
“That’s your business how?” Mickey asked as reply.
“It’s my business because, if you’re not, I’d like to request you leave so I can ask her to dinner,” Stone returned.
My head jerked as my body locked in shock.
“That’s not gonna happen,” Mickey growled.
My body stayed locked in shock but that didn’t mean my eyes didn’t fly to Mickey’s stony-faced profile in more shock.
“So you are seeing each other,” Stone remarked.
“Again, not your business,” Mickey bit out.
Stone’s expression turned shrewd. “And that’s something that would lead me to believe that the beautiful woman standing behind you is free to go to dinner with me.”
“You forget English?” Mickey asked. “I already answered that too.”
I butted in, “I think I can speak for myself, Mickey.”
He moved nothing but his head (though his torso shifted an inch) so he could look down at me.
His eyes were communicating again.
This time they were communicating the fact that he really didn’t like Boston Stone.
Considering what I knew of Mickey, this would be something that, along with my own natural aversion to Mr. Stone, would have made me decline the man’s invitation.
Unfortunately, Mickey added words to his look so this didn’t happen.
“You’re not goin’ out with this guy.”
Was he being serious?
He couldn’t tell me what to do. He wasn’t my father, my brother or my lover.
Heck, he barely knew me!
All he knew about me was that he didn’t want me. I was his…“attractive” neighbor who he now did not even walk over to beg recipes from (okay, so Aisling didn’t know of any other recipes I had, but whatever).
He didn’t even return my email!
And he was off with beautiful, statuesque redheads, smiling at them, taking them to movies.
He couldn’t tell me who I could and could not see.
“I’m not?” I snapped.
“No,” he turned fully to me, an ominous fully. “You are not,” he enunciated each word clearly.
“Sorry?” I asked sarcastically. “When did you become my big brother?”
He was still enunciating clearly, and dangerously, when he stated, “I absolutely am not your big brother.”
“No, you’re not,” I retorted, tossing my hair, which I hoped was shining in the sun. And with my hair toss, I further hoped my fabulous highlights caught the rays and gleamed. “You’re my neighbor. And if I want to go out with someone, you can’t say boo to the contrary.”
“This guy is an asshole,” he bit off, jerking his thumb at Boston Stone.
I felt my eyes get big and I got up on my toes, leaning into him, hissing, “That’s insufferably rude, Mickey Donovan.”
“It isn’t rude if it’s the truth.”
“You may think so but you don’t say it in front of the man in question.”
“You do if he’s as big of an asshole as this asshole is,” Mickey shot back.
My eyes got wider and I leaned closer. “Stop being nasty!” I demanded.
“You been in town, what?” he asked then answered with another question he didn’t expect a reply to. “A coupla months? I lived here my whole life and trust me, I’m savin’ you from a load of misery, this guy gets interested in you,” he returned.
I rocked down to my stilettos. “I am a big girl, Mickey. All grown up and everything. I do think I can make such decisions for myself.”
“You do, and they’re not what I’m tellin’ you to do, you’d be wrong.”
I glared at him.
Then I pushed right past him, hand lifted and got in the space of Boston Stone.
“Boston,” I said as he took my hand, grinning arrogantly and more than a little obnoxiously at me. “A belated nice to meet you. I’m Amelia Hathaway.”
His hand tightened in mine as he murmured, “Amelia.”
I pulled my hand from his, asking, “Do you know Cliff Blue?”
“Of course,” he replied, inclining his head in a pompous way that actually was kind of creepy.
“I live there,” I announced, doing another hair toss and powering beyond the creepy. “And I have plans this evening but I’m free tomorrow. Are you?”
“I wasn’t,” he replied. “But I’ll be making a phone call and I will be.”
“Excellent,” I decreed. “Seven?” I went on to ask.
“I’d be delighted,” he said softly, his eyes dancing with humor and I could see that too was relatively malicious.
I didn’t care.
I’d go out with him once, just to stick it to Mickey.
Then I’d be done with Boston Stone.
And anyway, I had about seven new outfits that would be perfect for a date and I knew this even though I hadn’t been on a date in two decades.
“I’ll see you then,” I said.
“You will, Amelia.” He dipped his chin to me. “Looking forward to it.”
“And me,” I replied.
He gave me another arrogant grin then transferred it to Mickey.
“Donovan,” he murmured.
Mickey didn’t reply.
Stone looked back to me. “Until tomorrow, Amelia.”
“Yes, Boston. And please, feel free to call me Amy.” Mickey grunted.
Boston smiled before he turned and sauntered away.
I whirled on Mickey and tipped my head to the side. “See? All grown up and able to make decisions for myself.”
“What I see is a pattern here,” he retorted unpleasantly.
“Oh?” I asked with mock interest. “Do tell.”
Then Mickey told.
“First time I laid eyes on you, your ex was up in your face, cursing at you, threatening you, shouting right at you and acting like a total fucking dick. It’s obvious he’s rich and up his own ass and didn’t give a shit you were alone, and because of that, you probably felt unsafe. It was just as obvious you were lettin’ him use you as his punching bag. Even if no woman deserves the way he was speakin’ to you, he just kept right on punching. Now, you know that guy you just made a date with is a total asshole and you made that date anyway. So that’s your pattern. You open yourself up for assholes to shit all over you. And if that’s the way you like it, baby, then no way in fuck I’m gonna get in there to show you there’s another way.”
Before I could retort, he turned on his boot and prowled away.

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