Blog Tour and Giveaway: A Life More Complete: Nikki Young

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Can you ever really outrun your past?

Krissy Mullins, an overworked, obsessive-compulsive publicist has been giving it her best shot for the past ten years. Throwing herself into her work and devoting all her time to her teenage starlet client, Krissy finds little time for anything else. But as fate would have it, her world is turned upside down when she falls in love with laid-back California native, Ben Torres. Unfortunately, her only frame of reference on love and marriage is her parents and they weren’t exactly the poster children for a happy relationship.

As Krissy attempts to navigate the precarious world of love, acceptance, and compromise, her past comes flooding back like she never expected. An ex-boyfriend returns from a life she has tried to forget, stirring up feelings in Krissy she had thought were long gone. Pulled in opposite directions as her past and present collide, she makes a rash decision that will forever change her life.

Excerpt: Ben:
“Ben?” I call quietly. He rounds the corner a few seconds later. Standing in the doorway to the kitchen wearing boxer briefs. He looks tired and runs his hand through his hair. When his eyes finally meet mine his mouth falls open in surprise and I run to him. I jump into his arms wrapping my legs around his waist. I can’t stop kissing him, my lips press firmly against his, my tongue moving with ease in his mouth. I run my hands through his hair and down his chest and back up again. He sets me on the table and I part my legs to allow him closer to me. He attempts to pull away, but I tighten my grip on him and continue assaulting him with my mouth and hands. When the urgency finally subsides, my kisses turn slower and softer. He presses his forehead to mine, his hands on either side of my face, his eyes closed as he breathes heavily. 

“I’m glad to see you, too,” he whispers.

My heartbeat quickens and my stomach flutters. I can’t hold back any longer and the words slowly roll off my tongue, “I love you.”

“What?” he nearly gasps. He steps back slightly and a smile builds as the shock of it all fades away.

“You heard me.”

“Say it again.”

“I love you.” I smile and pull him to me, kissing his neck.

“God damn! Took you long enough!”

“Six years. Why’d you wait on me?”

“Krissy, I knew the moment I met you that I loved you. I’m drawn to you like never before. My dad told me once that I’d know, but I thought he was full of shit. He was so right.”

“I’m sorry I made you wait.” I breathe out.

“It was worth every second,” he mutters as he leans down to kiss me. His lips linger softly against mine before pulling away. I tilt my head back exposing my neck to him and he follows my cue. I stop breathing as the tip of his tongue traces my jaw and his lips glide down my neck. I breathe in hard; my fingers ache to touch him as I pull him in closer. “Not here,” he whispers in my ear and a shiver of pleasure fills my body. He lifts me from the table, his hands gripping me tightly and I need this more than anything. When his body covers mine, my need only grows. Ben’s hands follow the curves of my body and with every touch his fingers leave my skin aching for more. When he’s finally inside me, my body is so sensitive, so acutely aware of his every movement that it takes only seconds for me to lose myself in him. All the insecurities that plague my life fall away and I can’t remember ever feeling this free, this safe…this loved.

Excerpt: Tyler:
“You need to go. There’s a reason we’ve spent the last seven years apart. My life is good and you’re not going to come in here and ruin it like you did all those other times. I won’t let you bring me down. I’m a different person and it’s obvious that you haven’t changed at all. It’s time for you to leave,” I say as I stand at the front door. Tyler stays firmly rooted where he stands. “Seriously Tyler, get out.” 

“I’m not leaving. I didn’t come here to argue with you,” he says as I interrupt.

“What do you want?” I yell raising my eyebrows and throwing my hands up. I try to gain control of my wild emotions as I begin to chew on my lip. I place my hand on the doorknob and that exact moment Tyler stalks over, his hand clamping firmly around my wrist. My teeth bite down hard onto my bottom lip and my eyes close. His touch sends my mind into a tailspin. I stop breathing and all I can hear is the sound of my heartbeat pulsing through my ears.

In seconds my arms are above my head, my back forced up against the door. Tyler’s hand is locked tightly around my wrists as he pins me with the weight of his body. His lips claim mine and a deep thrust of air leaves my mouth. He uses this moment to run his tongue along the teeth marks on my lip making me lightheaded. His tongue slips into my mouth, taking over and I return the kiss. He pulls my body against his and I begin to relax. My body melts around him, as I press against his leg in a way that can only be described as desperate. He trails a series of soft kisses along my jaw and when he reaches my ear he whispers, “I want you.”

“I’m not yours anymore.” My voice is weak and I’m not surprised by the conflict I hear in it.

“But you want to be,” he replies smiling wickedly. I breathe in and out in rapid succession, three quick breaths. All control is gone.
I wasn't looking to fall in love. Nope, not me. Been there, done that and boy, oh, boy did the ending suck. I'm serious, ambitious, goal driven, at least that's how I want to be perceived, but I know my view might be a little skewed. I'm the girl who wears white pants and assumes they won't get dirty. I'm clumsy and silly, but long to be taken seriously. Yep, that's me. A damn fool.
Krissy is a damaged, OCD, closed off publicist who is scared of love and commitment and works round the clock. She had a traumatic childhood  that has shaped her views on love and relationships. And she has been hurt by the one man she gave herself to in the past. She meets Ben Torres and he is perfect and swoon-worthy. He is sweet, patient, kind and initially becomes a good friend. She literally makes him wait years  for their relationship to progress. That portion is revealed in retrospective and we are now in present as Krissy tries to build more of a real relationship with Ben. 

He wants a title, ownership, commitment...love. I've never fully loved him, always one foot out the door, that way when the pain invades I can break away without feeling or guilt. But I want to change for him and I'm compelling myself to be a better person, starting today.

He really understands her and tolerates her quirks. But she has such problems with being a work-a-holic, having to deal with her young client Trini who is a Lindsay Lohan clone, time management issues, and just general fear of the future. Ben tries so hard and Krissy just drove me nuts because she could not see how good he was for her. And finally Ben's patience runs out. 

Not long after they give up, the man from her past reappears. Tyler was her first love and quickly moves back into her life and heart. This also kind of annoyed me because she made Ben wait so long for her to admit feelings and she seemed to jump right back into it with Tyler. Tyler could be sweet and loving, but he could also be a selfish ass too. On the surface it seems like maybe they are back where they belong. But has Tyler really changed or will they end up right back with the same problems? Tyler has a dual personality. At times I liked him and at times I hated him. 

Tyler is familiar; he's my known and my unknown all at the same time. He clouds my vision and makes my thinking fuzzy, yet somehow he makes everything appear perfectly clear. I find myself in the same predicament I did years ago. I would do anything for him.

Krissy ends up trying to figure out who she really wants to be with and what she wants for her future. There are lies, betrayals, hurt, pain, and happy times along the way. There were surprises and secrets that are exposed. None of the characters are perfect and they all make mistakes and poor decisions at some point. The supporting characters were all well developed and their lives intermingled and added to the drama. The more serious relationships are complicated, messy, frustrating, and deep. Krissy struggled a lot in her attempt to find her way to happiness. She had to learn to let go of past disappointments and fears in order to be able to move forward. And along the way I started to like Krissy more. She began to find herself, figure out what she truly needed, and was able to realize what her priorities should be. 

"I have to have faith that I made the right choice. I chose to love deeply. I chose to follow those words that somehow somehow failed me in the past. Love makes a family". 

Thanks to Nikki Young for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

Nikki Young was born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago where she still currently lives with her husband and two boys. She is a third grade teacher and spends her days forcing her love of reading and writing onto a group of poor unsuspecting eight year olds.

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