Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Release Blitz ~ The Arrangement by Felice Stevens ~ (Reviews Excerpt + Giveaway)

Release Blitz ~ The Arrangement by Felice Stevens ~ (Reviews Excerpt + Giveaway)

Title: The Arrangement
Author: Felice Stevens
Genre: M/M Romance
 Release Date: July 20, 2016


Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he's not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.

Damaged goods. That's all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it's the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.

As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

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It wasn’t the same standard room this time, Reed noticed. Carter had a suite, and Reed hadn’t ever been in a hotel room quite as large or luxurious. The outer room boasted a dining table with four chairs, a credenza with a flat-screen television, a large, comfortable-looking sofa, and two club chairs. A low light glowed from an interior room, which Reed assumed to be the bedroom. His stomach clenched tightly in response.

“Uh, sure. I wasn’t working the bar, just doing some of the office work for Vernon, so he didn’t care if I left.” Still holding on to his waist, Carter walked him over to the sofa where Reed dropped his knapsack and duffel bag, then managed to break Carter’s hold on him so he could remove his jacket. On the pretense of looking around the room, Reed walked around a bit before halting by the wall of windows overlooking the congested streets of Times Square.

“It’s bizarre, you know?” He touched the cool pane of glass. “There’s so many separate worlds going on all over the city. We’re in this secluded bubble up here where we don’t even hear the sound of the traffic. Anything could happen, and no one would realize it; love, death, every day it all goes on around us and we remain oblivious.”

He sensed Carter behind him. “That’s very philosophical. Is that what you’re studying—philosophy?”

The disbelief in Carter’s voice caused Reed to smile, but he kept his gaze fixed on the glittering light show outside the window instead of turning around to meet Carter’s eyes. “No, I’m studying hospitality management. I’d like to eventually manage my own restaurant or a hotel.”

“Good. For a moment I thought you were wasting your tuition money on nonsense. You’ll never make any money studying that crap. It’s not like you can open up a philosophy store and spend your day spouting all that bullshit to people.”

Strangely enough, Carter’s obvious disdain quieted Reed’s nerves. “I don’t know; I could see myself sitting in a nice quiet space, talking to people about their lives, thinking deep thoughts.”

“Oh yeah?” Carter pressed him against the window, covering Reed with his body. He’d forgotten Carter had been naked when he entered, and Reed could feel the thrust of his cock against his ass. “Maybe you have something there ’cause I like it when you get deep.” Carter kissed behind his ear, sending shivers down Reed’s spine. “Deep inside me.”

A surge of lust jolted through Reed, stiffening his dick, and heat flooded through him. Carter’s tongue traced a slow deliberate pattern across his neck and Reed’s pulse raced. “I like that too,” he whispered, and Carter’s lips curved in a brief smile against his ear, his breath hot and humid.

 Author Bio

I have always been a romantic at heart. I believe that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, my characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

I live in New York City with my husband and two children and hopefully soon a cat of my own. My day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. I practice law but daydream of a time when I can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

5 Stars

 *** Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie in exchange for a fair and honest review. ***

Carter takes one weekend every month away from home and his responsibilities of raising his little brother to go out, let loose and hook-up. He meets bartender, Reed, while out one night and they go back to Carter's hotel room. After a steamy encounter, they awkwardly part ways, but neither can stop thinking of the other, so Carter hunts Reed down again and proposes an arrangement. One weekend a month filled with no strings attached sex. But what happens when feelings start to develop?

Honestly, I didn't care for Carter throughout most of the book. He gave me whiplash. Sweet and caring and then he could suddenly turn cold and distant whenever he felt Reed overstepped the bounds of the arrangement. I understood why he felt he had to do what he did, but it was still a tough pill to swallow at times. Reed was so sweet and so insecure. I just wanted to give him a big old squeeze and tell him everything was going to be all right.

Reed and Carter shared a chemistry and pull that wouldn't be denied. The connection was powerful, and I loved watching them grow and learn to accept that they could have what neither ever thought they'd want or deserve: A loving relationship. The story is well-written, and I thought Felice did a wonderful job with the subject matter of mental illness. As much as I thought Carter could be a douche, his interactions with his little brother were absolutely heartwarming. And eventually, I fell just as in love with Carter as I did with Reed.

This was a very enjoyable read. Emotional and sexy and I can't wait to see what Ms. Stevens has in store for us next!

I'm a huge fan of Felice Stevens and I have to admit she has a way of writing books that tug hard on my heart strings.  There is usually drama, romance, angst and a bit of humor.  An emotional roller coaster ride for the reader and this book is no different in that respect. 

I loved the premise of the story. One weekend a month, no strings. No contact the rest of the time. 

“We’ll have an arrangement. It shouldn’t be too difficult. I have obligations that keep me home except for one weekend per month. That’s when we’ll meet and spend our time together. Other than that…” He shrugged. “There’s no real need for us to talk. We aren’t dating or romantically involved. It’s not even friends with benefits since we’re not really friends.” Carter narrowed his gaze. “What do you think? Can you handle it?”...

...Relationships were nothing but another avenue for someone to disappoint him, and he’d had enough disappointments in his life. “Yeah. I think it might be exactly what I need.”

However, over time, they can't help but develop feelings for each other, even if it wasn't part of the plan. 

I liked both Reed and Carter. I felt their connection and definitely wanted to see them together. However, there were certain times where they frustrated me. These two men have one vital thing in common, a feeling of very little self-worth. How can you accept that someone might actually want to stick around when your own mother couldn't get away from you fast enough? How can you trust that someone really wants you when your own parent didn't? 

Neither man is perfect, there are so many secrets between the both of them. However, if only they could find the strength, the courage to confide in one another they might find that they could actually help one another. The connection is there and they don't even know it. Honestly, this is so frustrating. Carter and Reed are so good for each other, yet they have these secrets between them. It's understandable at first, you don't reveal these things to a one night stand or a hookup. But as their arrangement continues, it's more and more difficult to not get angry about the lack of communication.  A lot of pain and suffering could have been saved if they would have trusted one another sooner. Of course, then this would probably be a very different story.  

4.5 Stars!

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