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Blog Tour: Dirty English: Ilsa Madden-Mills

DIRTY ENGLISH
Ilsa Madden-Mills
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Release Date: October 12th, 2015

A scarred fighter.
A girl with rules.
One night of unbridled passion.

There are three things you need to know about Elizabeth Bennett: she’s smart as a whip, always in control, and lives by a set of carefully crafted rules. She’s learned the hard way that people you love the most always hurt you in the end.

But then she meets Declan Blay, the new neighbor at her apartment complex.

A tattooed British street fighter, he’s the campus bad boy she’s supposed to avoid, but when he saves her from a frat party gone bad, all her rules about sex and love fly out the window.

She gives him one night of unbridled passion, but he longs for more. 

With only a cardboard-thin wall separating their bedrooms, he dreams of possessing the vulnerable girl next door forever.

One night. Two damaged hearts. The passion of a lifetime.
“Come to my apartment and spend the night with me.” I touched his face, my fingers stroking the softness of his sensuous lips. “Just one night and we can make this shitty world disappear.”

He exhaled. “A one-night stand?”

“Yeah.”

He cupped my chin. “Someone hurt you, didn’t they?”

My lips tightened. No one at Whitman knew about Colby except for Shelley and Blake, and I sure as hell wasn’t telling him. He’d judge me like everyone else had in Petal, North Carolina. “That’s none of your business.”

“I see.” His eyes searched mine until I felt like a bug under a microscope. “What if I wanted more than just one night?”

“Then your hands can let go of my hips now.”

He removed his hands slowly, the tips of his fingers grazing mine. “This may surprise you, but I don’t sleep with every girl I kiss.”

I’d been rejected. Again. “Blake said you got around, that you used—”

“And you believed him?” His voice was incredulous. “Dude is in love with you and he saw exactly how we looked at each other tonight—”

Looked at each other? What are you talking about? You refused to dance with me and then you ran off with your girlfriend. Not to mention I just kissed you and you didn’t even care.” I threw my hands up.

“I wanted to fuck you the minute you walked in that party,” he snapped.

“Then why don’t you,” I bit out, tossing back my shoulders.

“You think you want me?” he said tightly. “You can’t handle me, Elizabeth. I can see it in your eyes. You’re scared of something, maybe not me, but something.”

My eyes went to his black eye.

He let out a harsh laugh. “Ah, that’s what you’re afraid of. You want the real truth? You told me tonight you didn’t like violence, but I’m an arsehole who uses his fists. That’s who I am.”

“What do you mean?”

His gaze was intense, dark and low, his face struggling as he fought to find the right words. “I’m in a fight club for money. I show up at warehouses and fight other blokes. Sometimes I beat them so bad they need medical attention. A few times, I’ve been beat to unconsciousness. I’m everything you need to stay away from.”

I inhaled, anger and lust and excitement all riding me. Anger that he was pushing me away, lust for the alpha male in him, and God help me, the fighting thing repelled me and excited me at the same time. “I don’t want to stay away from you. I want you to fuck me and stop making excuses for why you can’t.”

My words seemed to snap his taut restraint.

He pulled me back in his arms, his lips fusing with mine unerringly. His tongue plundered me in a sensual way my body had craved for years. I wrapped my arms around his neck, my anger morphing into all-out desire as he turned us and pressed me against the wall.

Yes, yes, this is what I craved.

A passion to remind me that I was real, not just some sad excuse of a girl who chose to exist on scraps of love.

Before I knew it, he’d shoved my robe off, his hands sculpting my shoulders, massaging them as he ravaged my mouth. I reveled in the warmth of his hand on my neck as his mouth skated down, kissing the hollows of my throat, sucking on my collarbone.

“Like this?” he asked, his voice dark and gravelly. “You want me to take you up against this wall?”

“Yes,” I moaned. Gone. Past caring as long as he kept his hands on me.
 
Out of control, my brain whispered, but I beat back the dark warnings as his warm hand found my breast and squeezed, his fingers rolling my nipple between his thumb and forefinger.

I gasped in pleasure and arched my back to get closer to his body, ignoring the fear that pricked at the surface.

The rules girl in my head stamped her foot and yelled at me. I ignored her.

But even if I wanted to stop right now, I couldn’t. My tongue tangled wildly with his, my hands pulled at his hair, spurring him on, his hand palming my breast and then tugging. Sharp sensations of need went straight to my core.

“Is this what you want? Something quick where we just take what we want and forget each other the next day?”

No. Not that. Not like the way he said it, like it was something dirty.

“Yes, like that,” I whispered against his shoulder, my mouth on his skin, tasting him as my teeth bit down.

Elizabeth Bennett has been burned and broken by love and now she has rules. She refuses to let her heart get involved, sex only, she has to be in control, no drinking or drugs, and she avoids popular or dangerous men. She was always reaching for acceptance and love and was disappointed or hurt by it, so now she does not believe in it. She is smart and talented, but fearful of stepping out of her comfort zone and does not find pleasure in things she used to.

Declan Blay, her new neighbor, is gorgeous, charismatic, sexy, but also has an edge of danger to him as an underground fighter. His British accent, tats, and ripped body only adds to his appeal. But in contrast, he is also intelligent, well read, romantic, kind, caring and intuitive. He has the ability to do what no one else can seem to do and that is to make her feel safe. But he is against all of her rules. And he has his own reasons for not needing a distraction or a relationship. 

But their chemistry is unavoidable. They are dangerous to each other. They are exactly what each other didn't think they needed or could have. Both are afraid of getting too close. But they are two lonely people secretly wanting love, but afraid of going after it or being hurt. He tries to help empower her and get past her own fears. Her past continues to haunt her and rip away any hope she seems to find. And  he has his own insecurities about not feeling good enough and  her frequent push and pull hurts him. 

It gets messy and complicated with fears, feelings, jealousy, outside influences, and fight or flight responses. But once Declan decides he wants more, he still will have a battle on his hands. She will have to stop letting her past dictate her life, and find her own inner strength in order to face her fears and open her heart.  They both need to learn to let go, move on, trust, and let people in. And they need to make their own decisions to forge the futures they want to have. I found Declan to be a total swoon-worthy hero and I adored him. I loved the dichotomy of the rough and tumble fighter with the literary, romantic soul. 

I enjoyed the side characters of his easy going, party boy, twin brother Dax and her long time friends Shelley and Blake. I am interested in reading about their stories as they were teased a bit in this one. They all have their own sets of issues. I especially want more with Dax...a book about another equally hot, magnetic man with a British accent with his own set of insecurities...sign me up!

This was my first book by this author and her style flowed well in dual points of view and drew me right into the story. The characters had depth, flaws, and complicated back stories, but were likable despite that. There was tension (sexual and otherwise), drama, and emotional situations. It was engaging, romantic, sweet, steamy, swoony, and emotional. I will definitely be reading more from this author and it made me go one click her Bad Wicked Twisted Briarcrest Academy box set

ARC was provided by Author/Tour host in exchange for an honest review.
Elizabeth Bennett lives within a set of carefully crafted rules to keep herself from getting hurt by love again. She is focused on school, smart, and driven. But she is also afraid of being hurt, and keeps herself withdrawn to avoid disappointment and further pain.

Declan Blay is a fighter. But he is also a lover of British literature, a twin, and a romantic at heart. This juxtaposition made him absolutely swoon-worthy and instantly put me on his side in most of their disagreements.

In their own ways, each of these characters is driven by the past and their families. Their baggage is different, but that they each hold aspects of themselves close to the chest means added drama as secrets come out.

Elizabeth is extremely hesitant to start anything serious with Declan, and he is not at all interested in a one night stand. Though this is opposite of the general trope, it fit with the backgrounds and goals of each individual. As they are neighbors, they cannot avoid the other and a tentative friendship develops as they avoid the attraction growing between them.

After a while, Elizabeth’s reluctance to open up to Declan grated. I understood her hesitation, but (and this may be a slight spoiler) her unwillingness to deal with her past became an excuse rather than a reason. And while the distinction is semantic and hairline, I lost sympathy for her the longer she used it as an excuse.

There are some loose ties to Pride and Prejudice, but I have a hard time saying this is based on any one Austen work, or even that the tie is deeper than a shared interest in the author between Declan and Elizabeth. 

This was a fast read with great pacing. It was hard to feel complacent watching these two circle each other from the very beginning. I loved the mix of concerns that each character brought to the relationship. This is a complete standalone, though I would love to see a book for Declan’s brother as he was an intriguing character throughout the book. 
ARC was provided by Author/Tour host in exchange for an honest review.
Ilsa Madden-Mills 
New York Times and USA Today best-selling author Ilsa Madden-Mills writes about strong heroines and sexy alpha males that sometimes you just want to slap.

She's addicted to all things fantasy, including unicorns and sword-wielding heroes in books. Other fascinations include frothy coffee beverages, dark chocolate, Instagram, Ian Somerhalder (seriously hot), astronomy (she's a Gemini), Sephora make-up, and tattoos.

She has a degree in English and a Master's in Education.

When she's not pecking away on her computer, she shops for cool magnets, paints old furniture, and eats her weight in sushi.

Other books by Ilsa-Madden Mills

Briarcrest Academy series:


VERY BAD THINGS

VERY WICKED BEGINNINGS

VERY WICKED THINGS

VERY TWISTED THINGS
Amazon/iBooks/BN/Kobo

BAD WICKED TWISTED
(Briarcrest Academy box set)


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