Blog Tour (Book Review, Excerpt & Giveaway): Hold On by Kristen Ashley

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Title: Hold On (The ‘Burg #6)
Author: Kristen Ashley
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Length: 641 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis

Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn’t in the cards for her.

In love for years with the last bastion of the ‘burg’s eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia’s children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett “Merry” Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett’s back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.

Grace Review

A series finale that was tailored for the true Kristen Ashley fan.  This book will hit on everything you love about the author and leaving you wiping away endless tears (if you’re a sap like me).

Going into the final book of this beloved book series is not easy.  As you may have noticed, I have been binging on the ‘Burg series this summer.  All of the previous books I listened to on audio since I knew that I’d never have the reading time to read all 5 books, and I love KA’s narrators.  This was the first book of the series I read, instead of listened to, and it’s one of those books that I delayed reading because I didn’t want it to end.  As a huge KA fan, can you believe I had this book on my kindle for a month?!  Aside than having other ARC obligations, I simply didn’t want to say goodbye.

A Sweet and Sexy Love Story
Everyone in this series has had their difficult moments along the way.  Whether it is being hurt by a serial killer, a love lost, or fighting judements, they all struggled in their own way.  And then there is Cheryl “Cher” who seemed to have ALL of the previously mentioned problems.  But she’s a guy’s gal.  She’s build up a hard wall to protect herself.  She doesn’t cry.  She rolls with the punches.  Her only weakness, falling for a man who loved someone else.

If you read The Promise, then you know how Benny Bianchi saw what others couldn’t. And he laid down excellent advice for Cher to find some happy in her life, outside of her son, Ethan. Cher being Cher, she never wanted to expose her emotions and risk the rejection from someone she called a friend.  But one drunken night, she lays out her own brand of knowledge to Merry, and it makes all the difference.

There were many times during this story that I worried about the building relationship between Cher and Merry.  However, if you know the author, she doesn’t make you suffer too long when the characters act like asshats.  And both Cher and Merry have their moments.  Cher’s lack of relationship skills and overreaction, came to play often. Sometimes these moments bite her in the ass, sometimes Merry overlooks him.

“No one can show you happy, Cher, unless you let them in to try.”

As for Merry, just like his sister, Rocky, he continues to struggle with the loss of his mother. He too screws up on occasion, but Cher quickly learns that in order to get her happy, she needs to fight for it.  And that makes her stand out from all the women who came before her.  Especially Mia, but I’ll get to her later.

When the two of them sort their shit, the magic happens. *smirks*

“Just so we’re clear, good girls get good things, Cher.  Bad girls get punished.”
I was so going to be bad with Merry.

The Definition of a Perfect Child
Whatever words I can think up to express how amazing Ethan is, they won’t be enough. Whether it was his acceptance of Merry into their lives, or defending his Mom against his Dad and nutso Step-Mom, this kid has knowledge beyond his years.  I adored how he encouraged his Mom’s relationship and just wanted her to find happy.

The love Ethan and Cher have for one another was simply beautiful.  And Merry feeds off that love, seeing something he wants to be part of, beyond the obligations of a boyfriend.

As I mentioned on Facebook, the author’s inclusion of kids in her stories, is truly special.

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Endless Villians
Reading Golden Trail, I got the impression that his ex, Mia, was this amazing woman.  Everyone seemed to think he needed to get back with her and make things right.  So this being Merry and Cher’s story, not Merry and Mia’s, I had to wonder what went down to make him see potential in another woman.  Without giving away the who’s and why’s:

– Mia is a bitch
– Cher opens Merry’s eyes to something he never considered.
– Mia is a bitch.
– For the first time, Merry can’t get a woman out of his head, and it is not Mia.
– Mia is a bitch.

Are you cluing in here?  Part of me, a VERY small part, felt sorry for her.  But Mia goes about things all wrong, like BUY A CLUE wrong!

But Mia isn’t the only villian in this book.  There’s the previously mentioned, weirdo Step-Mom, Peggy, Cher’s neighbor, and a persistant wanna-be author.  Each villian threatens the future for Cher and Merry, and it’s how the couple weathers those threats that bring them to the next level.

Humor among the drama
One of the qualities Merry always liked about Cher was her ability to make jokes, even at her own expense.  She doesn’t disappoint to lighten up a heavy mood in this story.

“You can stop being perfect.  I’m getting a complex.”

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And along the way, maybe Merry picked up some of that same humor:
“You should be a therapist, Mike.  Open your own clinic.  Call it ‘Don’t be a Dumb Fuck Treatment Center.'”

“You opened your eyes and looked ready to perform surgery, shake a martini, or ride my cock until we both found it, all a’ that with a camera crew in tow, ready for your close-up.”

The Epilogue to End all Epilogues
Another reader warned me about this ending.  And I still didn’t see it coming.  All I can say is have tissues on standby.  I started and stopped crying four times.  Yes 1,2, 3, 4 times!!!  As I said before, I’m a sap.  But as the author closes up each story from the series, the simpliest of moments will start the waterworks.  I finished this book with a pile of used tissues beside me, and a huge grin on my face.  I’ve said my goodbyes to the group, but this series will definitley be one I will reread in the future.

“You got good, you don’t let go.  It lets you go, you hold on.  It slips through your fingsers, you pull out all the stops to get it back.  You got somethin’ worth fighting for, you fight for it.”

– Grace

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

Amazon

Goodreads

Click on the images below to purchase the previous books:

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AUDIO REVIEWS:
For You => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/06/01/audio-review-for-you-by-kristen-ashley/
At Peace => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/06/18/audio-review-at-peace-by-kristen-ashley/
Golden Trail => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/06/29/audio-review-golden-trail-by-kristen-ashley/
Games of the Heart => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/07/12/audio-review-games-of-the-heart-by-kristen-ashley/
The Promise => http://afterdarkbooklovers.com/2015/07/31/audio-review-the-promise-by-kristen-ashley/

Excerpt

Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.

I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.

“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”

My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.

“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.

“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.

“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.

“Step back,” I demanded.

“No,” he denied.

I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.

They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.

I glared at him from closer.

He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.

He was getting off on this.

I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.

I wanted this done.

“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.

“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”

I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”

I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.

I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.

And doing it better.

He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”

I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.

I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”

“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”

I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”

That didn’t get me fire.

That got me ice.

“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”

That made me ice over.

“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”

He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.

“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”

I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.

But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty- ass life I’d ever received.

“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”

I could stand.

I could stare.

But I couldn’t breathe.

Merry could.

He could also speak.

“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”

His words were lost on me.

I continued to stand.

I continued to stare.

But my lungs had started burning.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.

“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”

“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick- up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”

That was kind of funny as well as hot.

I still said nothing.

Merry fell silent and stared at me.

Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.

“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”

After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.

“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his

farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”

He closed the door on that.

I stood where he left me.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

What was I worth?

What was I worth to Merry?

Giveaway text

5 Winners

  • Top winner will receive a signed copy of the entire ’Burg series plus tons of KA SWAG.
  • One winner will receive a signed copy of HOLD ON plus tons of KA SWAG.
  • Three winners will receive HOLD ON in eBook.

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Comments

  1. ladydi232 says:

    Great review! I can hardly wait for this one <3

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