Blog Tour and Giveaway: After This Night: Lauren Blakely

Seductive Nights #2
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She holds the cards, but he doesn’t want to play her games…

Clay Nichols can’t get Julia Bell out of his mind. He’s so drawn to her, and to the nights they shared, that he can’t focus on work or business, only her. And she’s pissing him off with her hot and cold act. She has her reasons though – she’s trying to stay one step ahead of the trouble that’s been chasing her for months now, thanks to the criminal world her ex dragged her into. If only she can get out of the mess she’s in then maybe she can invite the man who ignites her back in her life, so she can have him – heart, mind and body.

He won’t take less than all of her, and the full truth too. When he runs into her again at her sister’s wedding, they have a second chance but she’ll have to let him all the way in. And they’ll learn just how much more there is to the intense sexual chemistry they share, and whether love can carry them well past the danger of her past and into a new future, after this night…

Then he saw a new email land in his inbox. From her. The subject line gave nothing away: Hi. But Pavlovian response kicked in, and he opened it before he could think. Because seeing her name still felt like a damn good thing, still held the promise of a sexy note, a naughty line, or a sweet nothing. But more than any of those options, it held the promise of her.
date: April 25, 4:08 AM
subject: Hi
Hi. I’m lying awake in bed thinking of last night. How only 24 hours ago you were here with me. How much better it was to sleep with your arms around me, all safe and warm and snug. How much I would love to have you here again. But I know that won’t happen. And I understand. I truly understand. If I were you, I would hate me too. If I were you, I’d be suspicious as hell. And I probably wouldn’t trust me either. So I get 100 percent where you’re coming from and I wish there were another way. I want you in my life so badly that I can feel this ache where you’re supposed to be. But I know I can’t have you, and I’m sorry I can’t be open right now. You deserve more than this. More than me. All I will say is this sucks, and if I could turn back time and do certain things over there’s a lot I would change.
But I wouldn’t change a second with you.
Wow. I just re-read my note. I think that’s the mushiest I’ve ever been with anyone. Damn, you did a number on me, and I’ve got it bad for you. I’m hitting send while I still have the guts in me to do so, even though I will probably regret it. Except this is all true.
He dropped his head in his hand, and cursed. A wave of frustration and longing rolled through him, and he knew he should turn the damn phone off and ignore her. But this woman, she was under his skin. He hated lies but he’d be lying to himself if he pretended he’d forgotten her in a day.
date: April 25, 7:12 AM
subject: Hi
I don’t hate you. The farthest thing from it.
He hit send before the regret washed over him, as it eventually would, he was sure.

This begins right where Night After Night left off. Clay and Julia are apart because she is trying to protect him and he can't deal with secrets. So even though they are both emotionally invested and have wicked hot chemistry, they are in a stand off.

Julia is in a big financial mess that threatens her safety. She feels alone and burdened, but she isolates herself to keep it from touching those she cares about like her sister McKenna and the man she wants, Clay.

Distance provides some protection for their battered hearts, but the internet and phone are hard to resist. And even though they are both strong willed and stubborn, it is hard to deny that they are drawn together. Even as they cannot seem to let each other go and have secrets, they feel guilty about it. It is a swirl of emotions...pain, loss, guilt, betrayal, and mistrust. But the pull of their need, longing, connection, and chemistry is strong. And once they find themselves in the same place again, all bets are off and resistance is futile. 

So they move towards a new relationship based on truth, full disclosure, and support. It is not just about chemistry anymore...it is more...and feelings are involved. There are still challenges facing them and Julia still is in need of help. But the independent, fiery woman is finally ready to let Clay in and for him to ease some of her burden. But they both have situations from the past to face. It all comes down to trust and faith in each other.

But will further secrets break their fragile bond and ruin any progress they made?

I really liked seeing the growth in both characters in this series, not just  individually but also together. Clay is commanding and thrives on control, but Julia brings out a vulnerability in him and has the ability to make  him lose control. She also likes to be in charge, but is willing to let him take the upper hand. They have an ebb and flow with power that keeps it interesting and mirrors the way they interact out of the bedroom too. They are both independent, strong, opinionated, and stubborn. But they are also both devoted, loving, and passionate. Together they balance each other out and their personalities, preferences, and sense of adventure make them compatible while also keeping things interesting. They have come so far from the people who only thought they could handle a fling and tended to run when things got complicated.

It was told in both points of view giving us a window into their fears, secrets, and feelings. It was funny, intense, sweet, sexy, exciting, swoony, frustrating, and heart breaking at times. They had amazing chemistry and intense passion. There were many hurdles both internally and with the world around them. There was intrigue due to the  issues they were dealing with.  And location alone provided one big complication. But I loved this convoluted journey with Clay and Julia and all of its twists and turns, and trying to figure out how it was all going to end up.

I loved seeing more with McKenna and Chris from Trophy Husband, David, Jill, and Michele Milo from Playing with Her Heart, and Cam from The No Regrets series, and the other little names dropped and cameos from others in her series. And we met some new interesting ones like Liam an actor/restaurant owner and we heard that Clay has a brother. But I love the connected world in Lauren Blakely's books even though this is a stand alone series. It just adds more layers and make me savor all of the little details and I am always looking at new characters thinking that maybe they might have a story coming in the future. 

Thanks to Lauren Blakely for providing me with a beta copy in exchange for an honest review. 

After This Night was the perfect ending to Clay and Julia’s story. It was hot, with a great balance of emotional ups and downs. 

Clay, Clay, Clay. Once again, I loved everything about him. Pretty sure I’ve drooled over him enough so I’ll keep it simple here. Finally, we see him move past the hurt he faced in the past to cause him to be so hard-lined about Julia’s secret. But the direction he ran with that change (and Julia’s news) shocked me completely and brings up a whole new challenge.

The emails between Clay and Julia were great, honest windows into what each was thinking and feeling, and as the case in emails, often shared things they may not have opened up about if they were speaking in person. But when they were in the same room, there were times I wanted to shake them for their lack of communication. Especially because as adamant as Clay was about having no secrets between them, this time it was HIS secret that caused trouble. 

This was all about the tension and the “can we make this work.” There were lines crossed, lies confronted, and consequences considered by both. Both characters shocked me at several times throughout the story. What I thought would be a clearcut, straight shot to happiness storyline was anything but. 

I am impressed with the amount of interconnected characters in all of Lauren’s series: Julia (Seductive Nights Series) to McKenna (Trophy Husband), Michelle makes appearances in Playing With Her Heart and No Regrets, Cam in No Regrets and Seductive Nights. These characters appear in Clay and Julia’s story in such a way that each time an individual appears as a cameo or supporting role, it feels just as natural as it did when they were front and center, or in Cam and Michelle’s cases, their inclusion is so smooth it doesn’t jump out as a forced character reference. I hesitate to admit that I didn't connect the dots to Cam's identity until nearly the end of After This Night, and though I recognized who she was in relation to her brother so knew we had previously met Michelle, I didn't catch that she was also in No Regrets until I saw a casting that mentioned her role in that series. 

These three books were such fun to read, both for the steam factor and the storyline itself. Lauren Blakely has once again created fun, real-life characters that transport me to another world and leave me wondering what they’re up to even when I’m not buried in her books. 

Thanks to Lauren Blakely for providing me with a beta copy  in exchange for an honest review. .

FIRSTNIGHTbyLaurenBlakelyFeb26revealFIRST NIGHT
Seductive Nights # .5 (prequel)
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Kim's 4.5 star review

*This is a prequel novella to the erotic romance NIGHT AFTER NIGHT.  
An erotic novella from the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely...

It was only supposed to be one night... When the sexy-as-sin lawyer walked into her bar in San Francisco,Julia Bell simply wanted a break from the troubles that kept chasing her. That escape came in the form of sinfully handsome Clay Nichols, a man who captivates her mind AND turns her inside out with pleasure.The attraction is electric and they share one scorchingly hot night together, but they also discover there is more than just off-the-charts chemistry; the connection between them runs deep. Clay never thought he'd return to New York with this woman still on his mind. But he can't get her out of his system, and he needs more of her...He wants more than just the first night...

Night After Night - CoverNIGHT AFTER NIGHT
Seductive Nights #1
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also includes a copy of FIRST NIGHT
Our 4.5 star reviews

A sensual, emotionally-charged erotic romance from the New York Timesand USA Today Bestselling author Lauren Blakely... 

He plays to win and isn't afraid to break all the rules...

Fiery bartender Julia Bell has been hit on by her fair share of customers, but has never been tempted to dip so much as a toe in that particular dating pool. She wants a man who can claim her body AND captivate her mind. Enter Clay Nichols, a lawyer with a dirty mind and a mouth to match. Confident, sexy, and commanding, he takes Julia to new heights of pleasure. And after one unforgettable weekend together, he craves more of her. If only she hadn't taken off without saying goodbye...

Julia has no room in her life for commitment, not while she has serious trouble breathing down her neck, thanks to the criminal dabblings of a former flame. She doesn't want to involve anyone she cares about in the kind of danger that's chasing her and that's the problem with Clay--she's falling for him. Hard. He makes her heart race, and sets her body on fire. 

He’s determined to keep her in his life, no matter the cost. She’s the woman he desires in every way. But when the past threatens to destroy any chance at a future, she has to make a choice --keep running, or give love a shot with a man who can hold her imagination, and her heart, night after night...
Lauren Blakely Author PicLauren Blakely
Lauren Blakely writes sexy contemporary romance novels with heat, heart, and humor, and her books have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iBooks bestseller lists. Like the heroine in FAR TOO TEMPTING, she thinks life should be filled with family, laughter, and the kind of love that love songs promise. Lauren lives in California with her husband, children, and dogs. Her novels include Caught Up In UsPretending He’s MinePlaying With Her Heart, and Trophy Husband. She also writes for young adults under the name Daisy Whitney.
Blog Tour giveaway. It includes a $25 Victoria Secret Gift Card and a Signed Set of Night After Night and After This Night
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