Wednesday, February 3, 2016

review || INTO THE FIRE { blog tour } by E.L. Todd

Fallen Publishing | January 30, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
Gorgeous Entourage, book 1



Despite everything I've done for my parents, I'll never be good enough for them. Instead of seeing a man to be proud of, they just see an embarrassment. I served four tours in Afghanistan but that doesn't mean anything to them. They only see the ink, the party life, and my short stint in jail. 

And nothing else. 

When they were in trouble, I handed over my life savings. I didn't think twice about it because they're my family, my blood. They raised me to be my own man and gave me everything I needed. It didn't matter that it was every penny I had. It didn't matter that the money was set aside for my future. My dreams. 

Because they needed me. 

But now they refuse to pay me back until I become the man they think I should be. 


I have an unusual professional. 

I escort men, acting as their date to family functions or work parties. It's my job to act deeply in love with my client. And I always nail it. 

But it's not what you think. 

I'm not a prostitute. 

I'm not a call girl. 

I'm an actress. 

Get it right. 

There are strict rules when it comes to my profession. There is no touching, kissing, or anything but hand-holding. Those who choose not to comply will get a swift kick in the nuts. 

But all this goes to hell when Ash walks into my life.
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{ about e.l. todd } .

Amazon Bestselling author, E. L. Todd, was raised in sunny California where she still lives today, claiming it’s the best place in the country. Easily hypothermic and hateful of the cold, she prefers to be warm all year round. She attended California State University, Stanislaus and received her bachelor’s degree in biological sciences, but still pursued her dream to be a writer. She’s written several novels and many series’, and her imagination can’t seem to stop. She tries to find the good in people and she exploits that in her writing, proving that people can make mistakes and rise above their past. Her hobbies include sunbathing, swimming, eating at Surf Taco in San Diego, reading, and learning everything she can about hippopotamuses’, her favorite creature. Her greatest dream is to make people forget about the harshness of reality and dive into a good story with lovable people. When fans tell her they love her work, it gives her the greatest sense of accomplishment.

{ excerpt } .

I sighed and left the bed. “You should go. I need to get ready.”

"For what?” His voice sounded raspy because we hadn’t spoken in so long.

I cringed because I didn’t want to say it. “I’m seeing Brad.” Guilt flushed through me. Was I really the kind of girl that went on a date right after I slept with someone? It grossed me out.

Ash’s eyes immediately darkened and he looked pissed. A fire erupted in his eyes, but the flames were black. “So, you’re just going to run off and have dinner with this chump?”

I didn’t want to fight so I kept my mouth shut.

He gripped me by the wrist and yanked me back into bed. “Call it off.”

“Call it off?” I asked incredulously. “I’m supposed to meet him in a little over an hour.”

“Tell him you’re sick.” He squeezed my wrist.

“I’m not bailing on him.”

“Just do it,” he ordered.

“And why should I?” I grew heated, all the anger coming back. “Give me one good reason, Ash.”

He held my gaze without blinking. “Me.”

“You?” I couldn’t keep the venom out of my voice. “What about you? I should ditch a nice guy so I can keep being your fuck buddy? What’s the point in that?”

“It’s pretty damn clear you’d rather be with me instead of him.”

His cockiness was usually endearing but now it was just irritating. “You’re such an ass.” I yanked my arm out of his grasp.

He grabbed me again. “Why go to him when you have me? I make you happy. I give you what you need. It doesn’t make any sense to go out with him. You really want some lame lawyer?”

“He’s a very nice guy.”

“Like you want a nice guy,” he barked. “You want me. Why else would you have slept with me for two days?”

I didn’t answer his question. “I’m not going to keep doing this, Ash. I need something more than a fuck buddy. I’m looking for a relationship, a long lasting one. This was fun while it lasted but it’s over. Let’s just walk away and move on.”

{ review } .

I want to start out by saying in this title, we have two very strong characters -- in their own ways. Neither is completely negative or positive, though.

From the beginning, we see what a strong, independent woman Alessandra is. She knows her job and she knows her rights, and she's not afraid to enforce them. She will put a man in his place if he so much as puts a pinky over the line. And for much of the story, she is this strong, feisty woman. I liked her most when she was putting Ash in his place, but I did feel that at times she was too forgiving of his personality. I simply did not see someone like her falling for someone like him.

"And since this is a business relationship, I'm not going to hook up with you either. I just want a professional--"

"Do you ever stop talking?"

He halted in midsentence and shut his mouth.

So what was it about Ash that I didn't care for? I think he came across as an entitled spoiled brat. He was an asshole at the best of times and douchey the rest. He joined the military to spite his parents, and when he lent his parents money to save their house (not because they were his parents, but because they were going to lose the roof over their heads), they became extremely judgemental. That family... they weren't easy to like. Ash was nearly thirty years old and acted like a twelve year old (which is slightly funny, because I recently was on Instagram and there was a late-twenties vet who had the same childish mentality as Ash, so I know men like this do exist).

He was such a beautiful man, but he was such a dick underneath that pretty package...

However, when Ash started to care for Alessandra, even if refusing to say anything, he cared big. And with that, he hurt big.

And it was those moments that I found I liked him. When he opened himself up to love, and hurt, and vulnerability.

His parents hold his money over his head in hopes that he grows up a little. This story takes place over a span of eight months (not including the epilogue); watching the growth of both characters was enjoyable -- and let me tell you, it took me a minute to like Ash. He and Sawyer both had some growing up to do... (I will say, though, that one of my favorite scenes was Ash and Sawyer, and a plate of french fries).

On a writing scale, I felt that this was solid piece. I'm not much of a description reader (but am a description writer, go figure), but E.L. Todd wrote her full descriptions well. I didn't always catch I was in the middle of a monologue of description until I was at the end of the chunk. The dialogue, too, was real to the characters (which further allowed me to roll my eyes and dislike Ash at the beginning). I did find that Ash's boyishness was a bit too over-dramatized, as was his parents' reactions, though. Also, like I stated above, I felt the change of disgust to acceptance of Ash on Alessandra's part was a bit abrupt, but once I was past that, I enjoyed the two of them together. 

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