Monday, May 2, 2016

review || THE PUREST HOOK { blog tour } by Scarlett Cole

Can heavy metal rock God, Dred, put his turbulent upbringing in a Toronto group home behind him long enough to fall in love and save Pix from her past? Find out in THE PUREST HOOK by RITA nominee, Scarlett Cole and St. Martin’s Press. Fans of Laura Kaye’s Hard Ink series or Kylie Scott’s Stage Dive books will fall in love with the tattooed heroes of the Second Circle Tattoos!

St. Martin's Press | May 3, 2016 | Contemporary Romance
Second Circle Tattoos, book 3


Can a love built on secrets survive?

Rugged, hot, and rock hard, Dred Zander is exactly the type of man that normally sends Pixie running. Not dreaming about running her hands down his washboard abs...and lower. The lead singer and guitarist for the band Preload embodies trouble behind his quick smile and guarded eyes, and Pixie left trouble behind her years ago along with the name Sarah Jane Travers and the pathetic trailer her mom called home. With her abusive past in her past, she has a new life, a new family at Second Circle, and a dream of opening her own business. She needs capital and time. What she doesn't need is a tempting long-haired rocker or the paparazzi that follow him around.

But Dred has other ideas. Pixie's sweet hazel eyes, purple hair and kaleidoscopic tattoo of exotic flowers that swirl up her arm haunt his dreams, and he knows she wants him too. He just has to convince her. But as a juicy exposé threatens to expose their pasts, and a blackmailer terrorizes their present, Pixie and Dred have to decide what really matters and fight like hell to keep it.

{ about author } .

The tattoo across my right hip says it all really. A Life Less Ordinary. Inked by the amazingly talented Luke Wessman at the Wooster Street Social Club (a.k.a. New York Ink). Why is it important? Well, it sums up my view on life. That we should all aspire to live a life that is less boring, less predictable. Be bold, and do something amazing. I’ve made some crazy choices. I’ve been a car maker, a consultant, and even a senior executive at a large retailer running strategy. Born in England, spent time in the U.S. and Japan, before ending up in Canada were I met my own, personal hero – all six and a half feet of him. Both of us are scorpios! Yeah, I know! Should have checked the astrological signs earlier, but somehow it works for us. We have two amazing kids, who I either could never part with or could easily be convinced to sell on e-bay.

I’ve wanted to be a writer for a really long time. Check through my office cupboards or my computer and you’ll find half written stories and character descriptions everywhere. Now I'm getting the chance to follow that dream.

{ q+a with scarlet }

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. It’s great to be here.

What is a "typical" writing day for you?

On a typical day, I get up at 6am to work out, then focus on getting the family out of the door for work/school. I sit down at my desk and start work at 9am where I spend about an hour dealing with business/social media. I love interacting with readers, especially when I have a new release out, like now, because it’s great to get their first-hand thoughts on the story.

I have a planner that lays out what I have to write every day for the next fifteen months. It tells me which book, and whether I am plotting, writing, editing etc. So I look at that and start. I take a break between 3pm and 4pm, when I go and catch up with my girlfriends in the school yard while we wait for our children. Then I write for another two hours, but this could be blogs/interviews, not just stories. In the evening, after everyone is in bed, I might write some more if I didn’t get everything done during the day, or spend some time reading, or watching YouTube videos on handwriting and bullet journaling.

How has the last year been for you, since publishing THE STRONGEST STEEL?

It’s hard to believe that only ten months have gone by. It’s been so exciting. THE STRONGEST STEEL was the first book I ever wrote, so it’s been one huge milestone after another. First cover reveal, first release day, first review. Completing the series has meant I had to learn to multitask across multiple books at one time, and learn how to do that to a deadline, which has been a great learning curve. One of the best things about the romance community is the willingness to help other writers, so people like Kathryn Le Veque, Jaci Burton, Kimberly Kincaid, and other great romance writers, have all shared the benefit of their wisdom with me. Their advice has been invaluable.

And I have wonderful readers who leave me speechless. Their responses to my stories has been so overwhelming, and I’m incredibly grateful for all their support.

Now, I’m about to release my third book in the Second Circle Tattoos Series, THE PUREST HOOK, I have two RITA nominations, became a Best Debut Goodreads Author finalist, and recently signed a seven book deal with St. Martin’s Press, so I count my blessings on a daily basis that I now have the opportunity to write full time.

Does one of your stories speak more to you than the others? Why?

That’s a tough question. I think I will always have a strong affinity with The Strongest Steel because it was my first. I had to learn how to become a writer to write it, which makes it a deeply personal part of my author journey. But I think I love all my characters differently, so it’s a bit like having to pick my favorite child. I think they all speak to me while I am writing them.

Thank you, Scarlet!!

{ excerpt } .

Pyrotechnics went off all the way around the stage as the crowd screamed and cheered. He hugged each of the guys, then ran off the stage to pull Pixie from Harper and Drea. The break between the end of the act and the encore was approximately four minutes, and he had plans to use them wisely.

Pixie looked at him, her eyes wide in shock as he grabbed her hand.

“Quick,” he said to her, tugging her down the stage steps. There was no way he could make it back to his dressing room in time, so he hurried them along the black curtain that surrounded the stage into a darkened corner. He pushed her gently against the wall, trapping her in his arms.

“Watching you watch me, Pix . . . drove me crazy. You going to let me kiss you?” he begged. “Please.”

Pixie looked at him and put a hand against his cheek. “Yes.”

He slid both hands into her hair and pressed his mouth against hers. Energized from the performance, Dred struggled to rein in the need to kiss her fiercely. When he heard her groan, felt her lift up on her toes to loop her arms around his neck, he was done for. She was more than he’d dreamed of, and he’d dreamed a hell of a fucking lot. And yet none of his half-asleep fantasies could match the emotions currently blazing through him. Her tongue tentatively brushed against his so gently it was almost innocent. Well, as innocent as it could be when what he really wanted to do was take her against this black curtain.

It was fucking heaven.

He slid his hands down her body. Pixie giggled when he gripped her waist to pull her close. Ticklish. He’d have to remember that.

Not that he wanted to, but he needed to get back onstage. Fucking encore. He kissed her one more time, tasted the whiskey he’d given her earlier. The telltale thump of Lennon’s bass drum started to sound. He pulled back, willing his hard-on to take it down a notch before he got back onstage.

“That was quite the kiss,” Pixie said shyly.

He took her hand and led her back to the stage, positioning her right where she had been. It was impossible to resist kissing her again, and he grinned when Trent raised an eyebrow in his direction.

“Agreed. As beginnings go, Pix, it was pretty fucking epic,” he said with a wink, and walked back onto the stage to face the screaming fans.

{ review } .

This series just gets better and better. The lines aren't stagnant, the people are multi-dimensional, and more than that, we continue to learn about the other people through each story. You can absolutely read each book as a standalone, as well, but having read the other books and knowing Pixie's relationship with Trent and Cujo made her story that much more enjoyable.

In this story, we have Trent and Cujo's pseudo-sister, Pixie, and Trent's co-host for the tattooing show they are a part of, Dred. We've gotten little bits and pieces of Pixie's past in the previous two stories, but Pixie has kept her past close to her chest, and finally, we as readers get to know what was entriley so horrible about her life, pre-detoxing on the store-front step.

We've only met Dred as the cool rocker with the long hair who has his eyes on Pixie. We haven't had too much insight to his past or his band mates -- and we get all that and more in this book. So much so that if and when Ms. Cole is through with the Second Circle gang (maybe she is, but there are a few others in shop), we have all of Dred's brothers who deserve happily ever afters. My heart broke on multiple occasions for those men, namely Jordan, if I wanted to through names around.

Pixie and Dred's relationship isn't a quick and easy one, by any means. Pixie has her reasons for holding him off, and watching as she slowly melts, slowly grants him smiles (along with her cute ways of saying maybe she'd go on a date with him....someday) was lovely to witness. I also truly loved seeing her relationship with Trent and Cujo -- my love of Cujo expands tenfold in this book, too.

And then there was Dred... Dred, who felt the weight of his brother's worlds on his shoulders. Dred, who was fierce protector of his brothers. Dred, who had strong feelings about drugs, and found his world knocked around because of them. Dred proves himself over and over again in this story; I found his tenacity to be lovely, and his heart to be great. His fears only helped to prove what a great guy he had the ability to be.

My only issue with this book was that I wanted just a little bit more between the last chapter and the epilogue -- it was a little too abrupt for me, and it made me sad. However, the story is a long one and with all the words and information, it was easy to look past. Not only was the romance line full and real, Ms. Cole's ability to add a realistic suspense line was great (my only thought, though, is that surely not everyone in this group of people can go through a huge event in such a suspenseful fashion, before the series starts to lose it's "real").

I cannot wait for Scarlett Cole to continue her writing journey! She has proven to be a fantastic author in the genre.

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