For this week's Sexy Sunday post, I'm glad to sneak in on the last day of the tour celebrating Antoinette Candela's first novel, Breaking Elle! Scroll away to check out all the teaser goodies, a smokin' excerpt AND my review. Also be sure to hit up Antoinette's Facebook page to enter the giveaway!
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How is it that the one person who you have avoided is the same person who could give you true happiness?
When Elle Bennett meets Reed Austin she can't deny the attraction. She discovers that certain people come into your life who make you question everything that you've ever believed about love and life. Will she risk everything for something exciting and dangerous or will she choose what is familiar and secure?
Reed Austin isn't looking for love when he moves to Boston. The distance was supposed to help him escape the trouble he left behind. Once he meets, Elle, everything changes. Reed can't figure out why he's drawn to Elle, but one thing is certain - he needs her.
Passion. Betrayal. Solace. Confusion. Desperation.
Love and life are not simple and emotions and relationships are tested. Will attraction be enough or will their secrets and past keep them apart?
*HEADS UP: CONTENT BELOW IS NOT PG-13*
"Hey,” she whispers, standing on her tiptoes gazing at me passionately. I lean in, crushing my lips to hers, wanting to taste her again, feel her body under my hands, and hear the sounds she makes when I'm pleasing her. "These won’t do," she murmurs in my mouth, and I feel her tug at the waist of my shorts. I groan when she slowly slides them off and kicks them aside. She grins when she sees how primed I am for her. I moan when she reaches down, curls her fingers around me, and strokes me up and down several times.
I lift her by her thighs and press her up against the wall; she curls her legs around my waist, pinning her hips tightly against me. Grabbing my face, she kisses me slowly at first, but then all control is out the window. The kiss becomes deep and hungry. Pulling away breathless and panting, she stares into my eyes. I haven't seen this look before, and I hope I see it again. From where I stand, things look good for me.
“No good girl tonight," she whispers in my ear. "Give me all you got. I want what we share tonight to hold me over until you come back." She breathes as she continues to kiss me, my mouth exploring hers. The heat in the room doubles, and I react by grabbing her waist tighter. "I want you to be rough with me." She purrs, tugging at my hair. I'm already insane for her, but those last words she speaks take me over the edge.
Locking eyes with her, I reach down and caress between her legs. “I need you. So. Bad. Baby." I utter, pressing into her. She moans and steals my lips, taking it to a frenzied pace, her hips meeting mine. The noise that escapes her when she feels my length pressed against her is nothing short of ecstasy. I want her so fucking bad. I nip at her swollen breast, slowly working my way back to her sweet lips, tracing and teasing every inch of her body with my fingers.
"Baby, please." She moans. "I need you now." The sound she makes right before I slowly sink into her is pure music to my ears.
Okay...straight up, here. Should you buy this book (and I do recommend it, as it's certainly one of the better written ones I've read since I started doing this reviewing thing - and understand I quit reading more books than I actually finish and review here), there are a few things that got a wee bit under my skin...
First off, be prepared that this is a book full of excessively hot people who all seem to know they are excessively hot. But not necessarily in the way that the cocky hot guy is gonna get cut down to size once he meets his OTL, but in the way that everyone - EVERY. ONE. - in this book is above average in appearance and there isn't a troll or nerd or even a quirky hipster to be found. It's as if Boston were freakishly Stepford-esque (and I know that ain't right cuz I'm from the East Coast, holla...we can grow some fugly up there!).
Next, prepare yourself that our heroine, Elle, appears to have super powers because every man in her immediate vicinity seems to fall madly in love with her. Now how am I supposed to like a girl like that??? (j/k...sorta )
Finally, prepare yourself that our heroine is also a bit of an emotional hot mess and has no idea what she wants, who she wants, why, how or when she wants it/them. Although, I suppose if I was that gorgeous, built like a brick shithouse and had three minor gods after me all at once, I wouldn't know if I was coming or going, either. But I left the book feeling like this girl wouldn't know what true love is if it literally bit her in her "super snatch," (to quote the vampiress Pam from HBO's "True Blood"). If she loves one, she loves them all. To be fair, I do recognize that Elle's discombobulation is very obviously part of her character's journey and because of the skill of the author I am confident that in subsequent books she will find her way; it just made me a little crazeballs at times.
That said...let's talk about the stuff that I really liked...
I simply enjoyed reading this book. It kept my interest 90% of the time and that's saying a lot because the majority of contemporary romances I read bore me to tears by chapter two.
I really enjoyed that each chapter switched the POV from Elle to Reed (one of our hunks, who I assume is the eventual HEA, since we aren't privy to any of our other hotties' thoughts - at least not in this installment). This is a very refreshing take on the popular first person writing format in our genre. Since I personally prefer to know what everyone's thinking, I very much liked this twist.
I also thought the characters were well-developed and the subplots were interesting. Everyone's motivation was clear - or their frustrations were clear, as in Elle's case - and that is due to the author's detailed attention to exposition and her distinct writing style. After reading (and not finishing) so many books that are written with all the flare of a newspaper article, I appreciated that the author actually gives us more than just "then they went here....and then they went there...and then they fucked...and then it was true love," etc. The author lets us inside their heads, which as a reader and an author myself, is my favorite place to be. At times I felt like some of the exposition got a little repetitive and could have used a bit more editing, but I'd rather that than feel like I'm reading the outline of a book instead of the book itself.
There's lots of erotic tension and sexing up. Fun, sizzly, angsty yearnings and sweaty, scorchin' monkeylovin' between uber-hotties. Yeah, daddy.
Breaking Elle of course ends abruptly with a gargantuan cliff hanger, as we do in the ebook world, but it did leave me wanting to read the next one to find out how Reed manages to get out of his self-made mess and if Tyler (Elle's long time best friend whose love she doesn't reciprocate) gets to find himself a woman that actually deserves him, and I'm of course anxious for Elle to get her pretty little head on straight (what she really needs is TIME ALONE!!! A BREATHER!!! But then we wouldn't have a story, would we? ). With all the characters to explore (and a little brother who should get his own story, too!), all of whom I actually like, the stage is set for a fun series.
Overall I think Antoinette Candela made a very respectable debut she can be proud of with Breaking Elle and I look forward to reading her future works. Now go buy the book and let me know what you think!
Rating: Four Smooches! (out of five)
BUY BREAKING ELLE NOW
Meet The Author
Antoinette Candela is a little shy with a larger than life personality. Suffering from Peter Pan syndrome, she refuses to grow up. She finds inspiration for her writings from everyday life, through her fun and quirky interactions with friends and family and the drama that never ceases to disappoint.
One thing is for certain, Antoinette lives by her own rules. As a Bostonian she loves the Yankees and is proud to wear her “I Love Derek Jeter “T-shirt. You can catch Antoinette on the beach soaking in the rays, but when the rumble of the thunderstorm rolls in, she’s curled up with a book or tapping away on her keyboard.
Mother, Writer, Reader, Lover of Music and all things learning, Antoinette is the charismatic author of Breaking Elle.
5 Fun Facts about Antoinette:
1. I hated English in High School
2. I'm allergic to cats
3. I'm ticklish everywhere and I hate it.
4. I love to watch scary movies but I cover my eyes when there's a scary scene. Don't ask.
5. I can't drink wine. It makes me sick. So I drink cosmos and martinis instead and do shots of patron.