Thursday, February 25, 2016

ONE TO TAKE { blog tour } by Tia Louise

TLM Productions, LLC | February 22, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
One to Hold, book 8


A STAND-ALONE NOVEL in the “One to Hold” universe. Prepare for strong language, panty-melting sexy times, and heart-squeezing angst. Readers 18 and older only, please.

Stuart Knight is a wounded Marine turned Sexy Cowboy. Mariska Heron is the gypsy girl who stole his heart. Now they’re fighting for their Happily Ever After…

Life is never simple.
Even perfect couples face storms.
The question is whether our love is strong enough to survive.
I believe it is.

She told me to leave.
If I leave, I take her with me.
~Stuart Knight

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{ about karen ferry } .


{ excerpt } .

~ Mariska ~

"Can we go somewhere else?” Our faces are so close, and Stuart's smoky hazel eyes brim with… something. “Away from the noise?”

I’m afraid to be alone with him. I don’t know if I’m strong enough yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll never be strong enough to tell him to go to hell. I don’t even know if that’s what I want to say. Still, with all we’ve been through and all I’ve learned, I can’t be the person I was before.

“I don’t know,” I answer truthfully. “I’m not sure if I’m ready.”

He glances down, and my eyes run all over his face. His hair is longer than he usually wears it. It ends in shaggy curls around his ears. His face is lined and tired, and his body is lean again, like it was when we were first together when he was fighting the drugs.

“You’ve been working.”

“Trying to kill the pain.” His voice is rough, and it moves something inside me.“

The stairs in the back lead down to the beach.” I point in the direction of the DJ booth. “We can walk along the shore if you want.”

He nods and follows me as I lead us through the crowd to the back entrance. A wide patio is attached to the back of the club, and couples are scattered around in different levels of engagement. I don’t linger, walking through them and going down the wide staircase to the beach below. Stuart is right behind me, and the closeness of this man sends waves of desire crashing through my insides. I have to fight it.

“It’s warm tonight,” I say, pausing to slip off my booties.

“Can I help you with those?”

Shaking my head, I walk straight to the water. It’s breaking in small waves tonight, sending little ripples of briny sand between my toes.“

So you’re here with Pete?” I can’t tell if that’s jealousy in his voice, but I decide not to notice.

“He’s easy.” My voice is quiet. “Safe.”

“Since when do you like safe and easy?” The taunting in his voice makes me want to cry. I can’t do this with him. Not after everything.

“What do you want, Stuart?”

“The same thing I’ve always wanted. You.” Another wave of emotion crashes in my chest. “No.” Shaking my head, I turn to the side. “I can’t hear that from you. You left me when I needed you. I reached for you, and you weren’t there.”

Stepping forward, he catches my hand, pulling me to his chest. “You were so hurt. I felt like seeing me hurt you more.”

I push him away. “You blamed me. You went away because you were angry with me for what happened. Be honest. You went away to hurt me.”

His chin drops, and I watch the line of his jaw move. “I was angry.”

“I knew it!” I shout, turning to walk away, but he grabs my arm, stopping me.

“But not at you.” The pain in his eyes expands, and I see my torment reflected there. “I was angry with myself. I didn’t protect you when you needed me, and I couldn’t forgive myself for letting you be hurt. I love you, Mariska. You’re my gypsy. You’re my wife.”

I shake my head, pulling away. “I’m not your wife. I’m not your anything. I never was.”

He looks down, and I watch as he runs a hand over his stomach. “To me you’re everything.”

“No.” Shaking my head, I cover my ears with my hands. “I only wanted a family. I wanted one so badly, I was ready to believe anything to make it real. I was young and stupid.”

“No you weren’t. You’re mine.” His strong arms surround me, pulling me to his body. “We can’t go from what we had to this. It’s not possible. You came in and changed my life. You changed everything. Every day you’re in my mind. I can’t shake you no matter how hard I work, no matter how hard I punish myself.”

“Stop…” My insides ache. Every word he says is a firebrand to my chest. “You don’t know what I know. When those things happened, you thought I had a gift. You thought I had special knowledge, but I don’t..."

{ review } .

If you haven't, I recommend that you pick up Taken and read about how Mariska and Stuart met -- learn about Stuart's past and the journey these two took with one another toward his healing and her finding a happily ever after.

...because this book picks up at the point where most books would say 'The End' and 'happily ever after' is simply assumed.

But oh no, it's not going to be that easy for Mariska and Stuart.

Where Taken was a novella that was quick, covered a ton of time, and had time jumps that sometimes left me confused (granted, Taken is only chunks from the full story, One to Leave), One to Take covers almost less time, but is much deeper. Just when everything seems like it's going to be perfect, everything will crumble -- and these two learn just how close you have to hold on to one another in order to move forward. When it's easy to push away, maybe those are the moments you should pull closer.

I very much enjoyed Mariska and Stuart's story. There were certainly plenty of tears, but I felt that this story was executed extremely well. I enjoyed the catch-up with Derek and Melissa, and loved looking into all the other characters that have stories -- I so want to read the others! While I haven't read Patrick & Elaine's, Kenny & Slayde's, or Amy & Marcus's stories, I do feel that Mariska and Stuart's story is one of Tia's best.

{ other reviews } .

ONE TO TAKE box set 4★ { review }

{ giveaway } .

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