Tuesday, January 19, 2016

review || WHEN WE KISS { blog tour } by Darcy Burke

Avon Impulse | January 19, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
Ribbon Ridge, book 5


Denver real estate mogul, Liam Archer, has always been a thrill-seeker, and the loss of his identical twin brother has only intensified his reckless behavior. Sky diving, heli-skiing, motorcycle riding…he’s tried everything once. Except falling in love. Liam doesn’t do relationships, but a no-strings fling with Aubrey Tallinger-the smart, gorgeous lawyer handling his brother’s estate-is totally his speed.

At first, hooking up with Liam whenever he’s in Ribbon Ridge is perfect; but Aubrey fears she could fall hard for the sexy daredevil, if he’d only stop refusing to acknowledge the demons he’s trying to outrun. To protect herself from heartbreak, Aubrey ends their affair. But this time, Liam isn’t leaving town and instead of seduction, he wants to be…friends.

The white hot attraction between them still sizzles but Liam knows that winning Aubrey back won’t happen in his bed. He’ll have to convince her that he’s more than the careless, adrenaline junkie she believes him to be. Because when they kiss, Liam feels whole again… and he isn’t ready to give her up without a fight.

{ about darcy burke } .

Darcy Burke is the USA Today bestselling author of hot, action-packed historical and sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Darcy wrote her first book at age 11, a happily-ever-after about a swan addicted to magic and the female swan who loved him, with exceedingly poor illustrations.

A native Oregonian, Darcy lives on the edge of wine country with her guitar-strumming husband, their two hilarious kids-who each seem to have inherited the writing gene in some form-and two Bengal cats. In her "spare" time Darcy is a serial volunteer enrolled in a 12-step program where one learns to say "no," but she keeps having to start over. Her happy places are Disneyland and Labor Day weekend at the Gorge.

{ excerpt } .

Aubrey Tallinger finished drying her hands and set the towel down. Lifting her head, she caught her reflection in the mirror. Her hazel eyes stared back at her and seemed to ask what she was doing dawdling in the bathroom when a perfectly lovely wedding reception was going on.

Isn’t it obvious? I’m avoiding Liam.

She was proud of herself tonight. She’d done a good job of ignoring the one person who always seemed to command her attention: Liam Archer. It helped to have a date along. A date she should get back to.

She took a deep breath and opened the door. Liam stood on the other side of the threshold.

He grabbed her hand and dragged her to the left through a doorway. He let go of her to close the door, then stood in front of it, his blue-gray eyes narrowed. “Who’s the loser?”

Aubrey registered that they were in a sitting room attached to his parents’ bedroom. She wanted to turn and look at the sun setting over the garden through the back windows but couldn’t tear her eyes from Liam. Dressed in a crisp black suit with a natty striped tie, he was the sexiest best man she’d ever seen. His dark wavy hair was perfectly styled, and as usual, she had an almost irrepressible urge to mess it up.

She tensed as she forced herself to present a cool demeanor. “I introduced you to him at the church.”

“Yes, Stuart the Accountant. But why did you bring him in the first place?”

She cocked her head and gave him a sarcastic stare. “Was I supposed to wait for you to ask me? You don’t take me on dates, Liam. You never have.” The dinner he’d surprised her with at her house when he’d been home for the long Thanksgiving weekend didn’t count. Dates were public.

He frowned, and she was shocked when he didn’t fire a snappy comeback. “I might’ve, actually.”

Ha! She’d believe that when she saw it. “Too late. I told you on New Year’s that our little . . . thing was done.”

“It wasn’t a thing.”

“No, I think you’re right. It was a series of convenient hook-ups, and they are no longer convenient to me.”

She called them hook-ups, but they’d been more than that. Every time they were together, she’d felt as though they’d connected on some sort of intimate level that went beyond just sex. But that was stupid. While she’d come to know him at least a little bit, they hadn’t spent enough day-to-day time together to allow anything meaningful to spark. Except for Labor Day weekend. They’d spent the better part of four days in each other’s company, and it had been bliss. They’d laughed, they’d danced, they’d talked. And yes, they’d had a lot of sex. The physical aspect of their connection was so far the most powerful.

He prowled toward her, like a jungle cat on the hunt. She had no intention of being his prey. Nor did she want to run. She stiffened her spine and crossed her arms over her chest. Meager protection when she knew just how dangerous his weapons of mass seduction could be.

“Come on, they were a little more than hook-ups. We planned to hang out over Labor Day.”

That was true, but they’d both been going to the Dave Matthews Band concerts up in central Washington anyway. It wasn’t like they’d formulated and executed the trip together.

He stopped in front of her, his lips curving up. “And you have to admit it was pretty great.”

Incredible. Right up to the point when she’d suggested they see each other again soon.

He’d said, “Sure, I always call you up when I’m in town.”

Like she was a convenience. And there was that word again. She didn’t want to be anyone’s hook-up girl. She’d quashed her burgeoning feelings, but it had maybe been too late. She’d already been crazily infatuated with him. So much so that when she’d seen him at Thanksgiving, she’d allowed herself to be the convenience she didn’t want to be.

But no more.

She gave him an arch look. “So it was a great weekend. You still can’t argue it was more than a hook-up. I walked away from that without knowing when—or if—I’d see you again.”

He frowned at her. “That’s absurd. You’re our attorney. Of course you’d see me again.”

Was he being purposely obnoxious?

He put his hands on his hips. “I suppose you’re going to tell me Thanksgiving was just a hook-up, too? I brought you dinner.”

After they’d flirted all day at a winery event they’d just happened to meet at. She’d accepted his sister Tori’s invitation to attend without realizing Liam would be there. Wait, had he known? “Did you know I would be at the winery that day?”

He arched a brow. “Who do you think suggested we invite you?”

Damn it. She didn’t want to know that. “Now you tell me,” she muttered.

He flashed her a grin. “Am I wearing you down?”

She thought of what had happened next, after yet another spectacular night together. She tightened her arms across her chest. “No. Do you remember what we did after that night?” She watched his expression go from thoughtful to confused to blank. “That’s right. Absolutely nothing. You went back to Denver without a word.”

He winced. “Hey, I tried to see you at Christmas, but you weren’t here.”

Because she’d gone out of town with her aunt and uncle—the better to avoid Liam. With every hook-up, she’d fallen a little more under the spell of their attraction while he’d seemed impervious. She hadn’t wanted to lose her heart. She still didn’t.

“And I actually did try to ask you out for New Year’s, but you wouldn’t return my texts.

{ review } .

This book felt like it started in the middle... and why is that, you ask?

Liam and Aubrey have history, history that I'm sure played out over some of the previous books. Aubrey was an adviser of sorts for Liam's twin, Alex, before his suicide. As such, Liam wanted nothing more than to dislike the woman -- but the dislike was heavily doused with lust, and the two were a hot and heavy item from the get-go.

'Item' as in a hook up here and there -- which worked for a while, but when we begin this book, Aubrey has decided she wants more and she knows better than to go to playboy, risk taker Liam for it.

Liam's battles with his twin's death are rooted far deeper than what everyone thinks, and watching him overcome these things definitely had some character-growth moments. He hasn't properly grieved, and it's evident in his actions.

I appreciated the strong will Aubrey decided to have at the beginning of this book. She showcased that she wasn't going to be a puppet pulled along for the ride, that she deserved more than grumpy, risk-taker Liam calling her up whenever it was convenient -- nevermind the fact that the man rarely 'hooked up' with a single woman more than once, and he and she were in one another's beds more often than that. I loved watching as a step was taken back, and friendship begun, allowing these two to realize their potential together -- and for Liam to discover he had a right to happiness.

What kept this book from being a 5-star for me was some of the emotional elements didn't quite carry the full 'oomph' I would have liked -- such as the gifting of a helmet at one point. It signified so much more than what was given in reaction. Regardless, though, this was a cute contemporary that any fan of the genre would likely fall for. This was my first from the series and author, and I can't wait to read more -- brother Hayden's next!

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