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Blog Tour: Shame: Rachel Van Dyken


Shame (Ruin #3)
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Expected Release Date: October 6, 2014

Everything done in darkness, will eventually be brought into the light.

I ran, but all it did was keep me one step ahead of my past. I tried to start over; new name, new identity. But you can't change your soul.

A fresh start at college was just what I needed. For a while, it worked. I was the party girl, the one that seemed confident, but it was a lie.

When guys kissed me--I felt only pain. 

When they touched me--Nothing but fear.

Deep inside, every girl wants to be the beauty in the story, to find someone that will see you as their world. 

But the truth? I was the beast. And as much as I wanted redemption, I wasn't fool enough to think I'd ever get it. 

Until he walked into my life.

I wasn't prepared to fall for someone. My scars were too deep, the wounds too raw. But he offered me peace, he offered me security. I should have known it was just another lie--I should have known that falling in love with my professor was a bad idea.

But I was powerless to stop myself from falling. 

And he was powerless to catch me.

Because the darkness finally caught up to me, and as fate would have it, a cruel twist almost bled me dry. But I'm stronger than I knew. I'm stronger than you think.

You think you know my story, but you don't....after all everyone has Shame in their lives-- and I'm no longer afraid to show you mine.

View the Trailer by Becca Manuel

I closed my eyes and leaned my forehead against hers. A shaky breath escaped her lips. “I’m going to kiss you now.”

“Are you trying to prepare me or ask permission?” she whispered, her voice beckoning me like a siren’s call.

“Both.” My lips hovered near hers. “I figure it’s only fair.”

“Fair?” She pulled back slightly. “How so?”

“Ten thousand.” I angled my head and watched the pulse jump on her neck. “That’s how many nerve endings, on average, are in your lips. Consequently, when your body anticipates pleasure, the build-up is the best part. Imagine, those ten thousand nerves are swelling, allowing blood to surge through them in anticipation of… what?” I swept my tongue across her lower lip and whispered, “Of being touched. I ask permission, not because I’m being a gentleman. It’s actually the complete opposite. I ask permission so your brain anticipates the pleasure before I’ve ever even touched you.”

I tasted her lower lip again and abruptly dipped my tongue into her mouth. Then just as quickly retreated. “The human body is an instrument. Know how to master it… and well…” I let my voice drop as I moved my hands slowly to her shoulders and tugged her body flush against mine. Our mouths met softly at first. I deepened the kiss, memorizing her taste, knowing I wouldn’t experience a kiss like this again in my lifetime. The way her scent, her soft moans destroyed my body, wrecked me from the deepest part of me, was nothing short of life-altering.

And I’d like to think I’d kissed a lot of women.

I’d studied the psychology of sexuality.

I was an expert in pleasure.

But she was schooling me, absolutely wreaking havoc on every logical thought as her soft whimper cascaded over me. Blood surged through my body as it tightened with awareness at her proximity.

She pulled back, her lips swollen. “That was… not a good enough warning.”

Laughing softly, I cupped the back of her head and gently drew it toward mine and kissed her again, angling my lips differently, searching her, consuming her, drawing pleasure from her lips as if it was my life goal to discover every single secret she owned.

Her arms wrapped around my neck. She was shy; she didn’t push against me, didn’t wrap her legs around me or moan into my mouth like I was having sex with her rather than kissing her.

My hands moved down her corset to her hips, and I lifted her into the air and walked her backward toward the brick wall. The whole time, our masks collided. In frustration, I ripped hers off, then mine. The shadows of moonlight hid our faces as I kissed her harder, losing myself in her.

Her nails dug at the back of my neck as she jerked my head harder. Groaning, I let her fall to the ground as I placed my hands on the brick wall to keep myself from ripping the dress from her body.

Shouting started from the ballroom.

“Ten, nine…!”

“Eight,” I whispered against her mouth. “Seven.”

“Six.” She sighed, her breathing labored as her tongue found mine again. “Five.”

“Four, three.” I pulled back and trailed kisses down her neck.

“Two.”

We broke apart, both breathing heavy. “One.”

People burst out onto the balcony as the fireworks started, lighting up the sky. And our faces.

And the only thing I could say as she gasped in horror was “Oh, shit.”




Unfortunately, the thing about running, the thing about trying to start over---eventually that hope is dashed by your past coming up to greet you like the fires of hell. My past came knocking sooner that I could have imagined. 

We were teased by Lisa's back story in Toxic. She has been around in all of the books in this series as she is friends with Gabe, Wes, Saylor, and Kiersten. But now she is really struggling. Gabe's past came out and now hers is haunting her in the form of threatening mail. She already lives with guilt and shame for things she did when younger and her painful history with her ex-boyfriend Taylor has left permanent emotional and psychological scars.

But that's the thing about choices; you don't regret them until after they've been made. It may be a second later, or a year. Shame always comes.

But now there is a new, young, hot professor, Tristan, who favors her ex. And he seems intent on calling her out and making her life miserable. And he has ties with people in her life, making it harder to escape his attention.

She is already scared, insecure, and full of guilt and self loathing, She's afraid of the threats, her past catching up to her, and her attraction to her professor. He does not fit with her previously set plans. She was so marked by her past that she tried to reinvent herself and leave it all behind.  But it never really leaves her mind, and with new threats stalking her it is just adds more fear and tension. But she does not like to be a burden to those she cares about, so tries to be strong and handle everything herself. 

Tristan is taking time away from his real life to do some investigating. He needs answers. He is angry and set on revenge based on one side of a story he has been privy to. He feels like people do not really know who he is and he might not have all of the answers himself, He is ruthless in business, but not so secure regarding real relationships, He needs order and control to keep his life compartmentalized and safe. But Lisa brings some messiness, disorder, and makes him feel. In order to get the answers he seeks, he has to be secretive himself. And as the story unfolds he begins finding more questions than answers. 

But their circumstances also add a forbidden element. There is a pull that they both should resist. But when that proves difficult, there is more at risk than they think...feelings, trust, reputations, and their safety. Evil manipulative games from her past are haunting both of them in the present. There is the dichotomy of good vs. evil and truth vs. lies. 

I will admit it took me a bit to warm up to Tristan and even to them together. But as they story got more convoluted, motivations were questioned, and decisions were made, I could feel their connection and emerging feelings. I began to see them more as a couple. They were two people with facades that had to be broken down bit by it. Half truths, hidden agendas, and  misconceptions were in play from the beginning. Trust and security are difficult when there are so many secrets and insecurities. But deep down they both had their demons to fight and could provide strength to each other in their battles.

Sometimes you spend your whole life being a victim--until you decide you want to be a survivor.

I loved getting more with Wes, Gabe, Kiersten, and Saylor...the over-protective boys especially. They love Lisa fiercely. Their interactions are both funny and taunting, but also supportive and protective, They are truly a family and all have lived through some kind of hell to come out at a better place. It is only right that they try to lead Lisa away from the darkness and chains of her past and try to help her continue to move past it,

"The broken pieces are the prettiest ones, Lisa. The demons the proudest scars."

This one was full of secrets, subterfuge, deceit, and emotional and psychological warfare. There were some very toxic and manipulative people in this one. It was truly disturbing and downright creepy at times. There was a layered plot with many twists and turns. I will say that I figured it out by really analyzing it all, but it did not lessen the tension or anxiety I felt. It was a nerve wracking, appalling, infuriating, heartbreaking, suspenseful, yet inspiring story. It was told in Lisa and  Tristan's points of view in the present and the teasers at the top of the chapters were from journal entries of her ex, or from Lisa or her past alter ego Melanie. And there was an epilogue in another point of view that made me smile. This is another book in the series that grabs you, frustrates and angers you, makes you feel, builds you back up, breaks you down again, and leads you on a wild ride...but once you finally get there it is the beauty in healing that makes it worth the fight to get there.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 

Lisa has worked hard to keep attention off herself, to be the typical, happy college student. Only Gabe knows her darkest secret, and she can only hope that it stays that way. As Gabe’s friend, we got to know her pretty well in Toxic, or as well as you can get to know someone who is hiding in plain sight. 

Tristan goes to Seattle with revenge on his mind. He is following a path outlined in a journal, seeking answers and resolution. But meeting Lisa makes him question everything he thought he knew and thought he was seeking. As a professor, he is knowledgeable and strict. As the story’s hero, he is just as hard lined and persistent. 

This was such a twisted story, I never quite felt settled while reading. Just as I started to get a feel for the way things were going, there would be a new threat, or a new truth would come to light, or an excerpt from Taylor’s journal would be especially chilling. Even when I thought I understood where Lisa and Tristan were each coming from, I was never sure if I could trust those feelings.

Even Tristan himself was hard to trust. As his motivations come to light, I found it hard to put aside why he was even in Seattle in the first place and move beyond his initial impressions of Lisa. It wasn’t until it became obvious that there was so much more going on that I started to warm up to him. As his identity came to light and his own protective nature was jumpstarted that I was able to get behind him as the hero. 

As the third book of the series, we are well familiar with Wes, Kirsten, Gabe and Saylor. Gabe and Wes regularly show their protective sides, offering security and support as much as Lisa will allow (or they force her to accept when she won’t allow it). The girls are less present in the story, as they are focused enough on their final semesters of college that their free time is sparse. 

This had such a psychological thriller type feel to it, that at times the romantic aspects were overshadowed and rushed. As a thriller, I loved it. I thought I had it figured out pretty early on, so I was surprised and thrilled to find that I had only figured out part of the end. The final product was not at all what I expected from Shame, in the best possible way. It was intense, emotional, and as chilling as it was heated.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Ruin (Ruin#1)
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I'm not your typical girl. I've been running away from the memories that haunt me for so long that depression has become my only comfort. I was content in the darkness...until Wes Michals offered to be my light.

I didn't know that time wasn't my ally -- that every second that ticked past was one step closer to the end of something that was beginning to mean the end of myself. He tried to warn me. He promised me all he was able to offer--each moment as it came--but it would never be enough.

Sometimes when you think it's the end, it's only the beginning. Wes thought he could save me, but in giving me everything, he ruined me. Because after one kiss, one touch, I couldn't--I wouldn't ever be the same.

And from that moment on, his heartbeat became my own


Toxic (Ruin#2)
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Everyone has a secret...

Gabe Hyde is on borrowed time. He's been hiding his identity for over four years-hidden from the world that used to adore him--obsess over him--driven to the edge of insanity by one poor choice. 

But that one choice, altered the course of his life forever. 
Pretending isn't all it's cracked up to be, especially when pretending means hiding your real self from the people that care about you the most. But if anyone ever discovered the truth it wouldn't just be his life at risk--but hers. 

Saylor doesn't hate men. 
Just Gabe. 
Only Gabe. 
He's a reckless, happy-go-lucky, silver spoon fed pain in her ass. Everything about him makes her more and more confused. Unfortunately they both donate time at the same Group Home. If she wasn't afraid of flunking, she'd be long gone. She hates that she's attracted to him almost as much as he hates that he's attracted to her--and she can tell, especially since their first encounter ended up making her knees so weak she couldn't form coherent sentences for weeks afterwards. But the closer she gets to him, the more confused she becomes. He isn't who he says he is, and he's hiding something big. 

What happen when two worlds collide? Two worlds that never should have met in the first place? Some secrets are too big to be hidden forever--the only question? Will his destroy everyone he loves? Or finally bring about the redemption he's been craving for the past four years?

Everyone has a secret...What's yours?


Fearless (Ruin 2.5)
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When I met Kiersten, time stood still. It was as if every cell in my body screamed HER. I couldn't look away, I couldn't walk away, I couldn't even move. My other half, my soul mate, was staring right at me. I had to have her. I had to make her mine. But I felt selfish doing that--knowing that I may not have endless amounts of time to give her...and even now that every things' over with and I've been given that time back. 
Nothing is ever certain in this life. 
Which is why I'm about to do something crazy, impulsive, daring.
After all, what type of person would I be if I didn't take my own advice? 
I'm jumping off the cliff, I'm living fearlessly. 

This is the continuation of Wes and Kierstens story (Ruin).

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Rachel Van Dyken

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today Bestselling author of regency and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor.

She keeps her home in Idaho with her Husband and their snoring Boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers! You can follow her writing journey at
www.rachelvandykenauthor.com

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