Blog Tour and Giveaway: When We Met: A.L Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King, Christina Lee

Anthology by A.L. Jackson, Molly McAdams, Tiffany King, and Christina Lee
Release Date November 4, 2014
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Today’s premier New Adult authors combine their talents to tell four original stories from inside one house. 

When four girls decide to live off campus together as juniors at a college in Michigan, they expect it to be their best year yet. Little do they know, it’s a year that will change the rest of their lives.

Unable to live down her ex-boyfriend’s deception, Misha is determined to avoid betrayal. When, the new guy next door, Darryn starts to get under her skin, her defenses start to crumble. But trusting Darryn seems impossible, especially if he’s not sure he can trust himself.

SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
On the outside, Indy is always ready for a party—but inside she’s breaking. Kier makes a weekly routine of saving the girl next door from herself on Saturday nights… but when will she be ready to remember him on Sunday morning?

FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Working at a sports bar, Courtney has become a pro at sidestepping propositions from arrogant jocks—which makes her a more elusive catch for campus basketball star Dalton than he expected. But when he falls for the saucy waitress, Dalton will have to rethink his game plan to prove he’s not the jerk Courtney expects.

In order to ace her fashion internship, Chloe must team up with local college dropout and set builder, Blake—much to her chagrin. But after some "hands-on" experience, Chloe will have to ask herself if Blake factors into her carefully laid plans… 

My rating is based on the 4 stories together and how they played off each other. If I were to rate the stories separately, they would range from 4 to 5 independently, so I figured calling it 4.5 as a whole is fair. Within the 4, I have a favorite, and a less favorite, but enjoyed them all as fun short stories. 

Each of the stories focuses on one roommate from Hamilton House -- Misha, Indy, Courtney, and Chloe, and the men they fall for. The first two men are roommates next door, while the last two men meet the women elsewhere. To varying degrees, the couples have everything from emotional scars to past hurts to deal with and overcome. 

A few of the endings happened fairly quickly, but when I finished the quartet and reflected on it, the speed made sense. This is a collection of beginnings. There are not endings or even long drawn out couplings. Each takes place over the course of a week, or a few weeks, but not more than a couple months tops. In that sense, When We Met is the perfect title for the collection. 

The first story, “Behind Her Eyes” by A.L. Jackson, introduces readers to Misha and Darryn. Misha is just returning to campus after running home to hide after her first boyfriend greatly betrayed her trust. She returns to the house she shares with three other friends, only to be haunted by the fear of her shame while fighting an attraction to the new neighbor. 

I loved this story. For the length it had great pacing and a perfect amount of conflict both for the individual characters and as a couple. There were some little details about Misha’s backstory that I wouldn’t necessarily expect to learn in a short story, but their addition made her one of my favorite of the women. 

The second story, “Saving Me” by Molly McAdams, focuses on Indy and Kier. There were a lot of veiled truths and unknowns throughout this story. Though the perspective shifts between Indy and Kier, it is written in such a way that we know Indy is blocking something from her memory but not what, and Kier gives little away in his voice either.

Kier is super sweet, caring and quiet. He keeps to himself and doesn’t join the house parties his roommates through nearly weekly. But every week, he quietly carries drunk Indy home, tucks her into bed, and locks the door as he returns home. Indy doesn’t remember anything about these Saturday night encounters. All she knows is she feels a strange sense of deja vu when she runs into Kier when she isn’t drinking. 

Third is “Fouling Out” by Tiffany King. Courtney has little time for anything that isn’t work or class related. When she isn’t in class or studying, she is waitressing at a sports bar and restaurant. Dalton is a star basketball player, and has been since he was in middle school. He and Courtney were best friends before basketball devoured his free time and life. Despite attending the same school, they run in different circles now and never run into each other until Dalton sits in Courtney’s section one night. 

This was a sweet second chance story with the added pressures of an over enthusiastic sports parent, a championship season, and two very busy individuals. 

Last is “Beneath Your Layers” by Christina Lee. Chloe and Blake are complete opposites by all appearances, but when they have to work together on a project, they discover they have more in common than they would have guessed. 

As opposite as they looked in that initial scene, I loved how Blake and Chloe opened up to each other and shared vulnerabilities they hadn’t shared with anyone else. The addition of Truth or Dare to their evenings served as a great way for them to slowly share their secrets. 

Individually, each is a fun (and to varying degrees emotional) short story. Together they read like a mini-series. Whether they are read one at a time, or as a whole, they were entertaining and captivating. I had favorite moments in each story, and favorite characters among the four couples. And even as I thought about which was my favorite and which was not as favorite, I couldn’t call any of them a least favorite because moments in each made them perfect.

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

These are four short stories about four college roommates: Misha, Indy, Courtney, and Chloe and the young men they connect with. All are a  bit broken in some way and each needs a little something to help fix or complete them. Each story had likable characters, both points of view and interesting back stories, surprises, and challenges. It is a year that changes all of their lives.

Misha Cross lost her innocence and naivete to betrayal. And she was determined not be vulnerable and gullible again. When her new neighbor, Darryn Wild enters her life, she knows she needs to stay far away. But this bad boy is like a magnet for her. And he is completely taken by her sweet demeanor and determination to keep him at arms' length. But will she give Darryn a chance to fix her fears and insecurities or will he suffer rejection due to the demons from her past?

Misha was sweet, scared, and broken and I could not help but feel for her. And Darryn...Holy Moly. Loved him! Her description of him as a Boy-Man-God was so accurate. He was intense and had such strong feelings. He was protective and completely entranced by her, but had an uphill battle due to her past. I loved his his humor, personality, and the fact that she made him lose control and act outside his comfort zone. But it was a fine line between secrets, lies, trust and protection. And once it is all out in the open and trust is questioned, can they deal with the fall out?

SAVING ME by Molly McAdams
Indy is a lost girl struggling to forget the pain from her past with trust and abandonment issues. Her unhealthy attempts at coping lead to memory gaps but do not erase the pain. The sweet, protective guy next door, Kier, makes her feel safe, but she is not sure why since she barely knows him.  And if she lets him know her fully, will he run from her too?

Kier was such a selfless, nice guy. I loved his calm, caring, reserved manner. He was quietly intense , but no less charismatic. Indy was a mess, but had reason to be. They both had secrets and demons but needed acceptance, self forgiveness and maybe a little saving.

FOULING OUT by Tiffany King
Courtney Leighton is a busy waitress and student who does not really have time for a social life and flirting.  Dalton Thompson is her former best friend and unrequited crush who is now a college basketball player and local celebrity.  They drifted apart in their tweens and he never realized how much that hurt her. So when he sees her again, she is angry and reluctant while he wants to rekindle their friendship and more. Basketball has taken over his whole world. Does he have time for a distraction? And she's wary and insecure, will she truly ever believe he is sincere and trust him again?

Dalton was fun, flirty, and a good guy. But he also had issues that threatened to put a wedge between them again. Courtney tried hard not to fall for him again, but his charm and determination made it hard. I loved some of the ways he tried to prove his commitment to her. 

Chloe is a true fashionista and plans to be involved in the fashion industry as her career. She is always put together, plans everything, and is a fan of lists. When she needs help on a project, she is faced with her boss' nephew, Blake as her reluctant assistant. He is the same sexy, construction worker, college drop-out that she usually can't stand to be around. 

Blake was rough around the edges, but was also a caring and protective young man. He was much deeper than he initially appeared and had challenges of his own. She was anal retentive, sheltered, and needed to learn to let go and relax. They appeared to be so different, but also were alike in some ways. I really liked their little games of truth or dare and how it gave us insight into their lives and character.

My personal favorite stories were Behind Her Eyes and Saving Me, but this is a great way to try out four talented authors while reading connected novellas about a group of likable but somewhat damaged characters. But each short story can stand on its own as a quick romantic read with humor, emotion, and challenging life issues.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Behind Her Eyes by A.L. Jackson

Now I could feel him, his eyes all over me, caressing me slowly, up and down.

I let all my insecurities drift away as I swayed in time to the music, in sync with the throb of the crowd and the intermittent lights that glowed against my lids.

A charged moment passed, before strong hands found my hips and gripped them from behind. For a beat, I stiffened, before I again gave in to this sublime release. And again, he felt good. Right. All this intense energy that ricocheted between us wrapped me up in a frenzy of nerves, alight and alive. The smell of him took me whole, all soap and man and sex.

Oh God.

My heart beat frantically, racing to keep up with my thoughts that were spiraling out of control.

A shimmer of fear slithered through me, before he pulled my back into the safety of his firm chest.

And that was what I felt.


With him, and I didn’t know why, and I was searching inside myself for resolve, for the commitment 

I’d made to never allow myself to be so easily played again.

But it was just out of my reach.

Darryn held me close, our bodies moving in time, like we shared the same breath, the same space. 

I leaned back, my head on his shoulder as his face found the curve of my neck. Chills sped, spinning my body into a violent cataclysm of need. He let his hands roam, palms pressing hard as he ran them down the front of my legs, spanning them wide as he trailed them back up to my hips and over my stomach. 

Fingertips dipped into my ribs as he slid them up the curve of my sides, and he lifted my arms as he went, in the same fluid motion fastening my hands around the back of his neck.

All those butterflies scattered, a clash of discordant wings that fluttered haphazardly through my insides, leaving my stomach in a coiled mess of confusion and need.

Why him? Why now?

Holding me close, he brushed his mouth over the shell of my ear, his whispered words injected directly to my manic heart. “Goddamn, Misha. What are you trying to do to me?”

I suddenly found it impossible to breathe, because it was him who was slowly undoing all the fibers of reservation woven through my weakened spirit.

“Can’t get you off my mind.” He leaned in closer, his hand sweeping up my stomach. Fingers brushed between my breasts, and I released a sharp gasp.

“Been dying to touch you,” he murmured low.

Saving Me by Molly Adams

“I’m about to embarrass the hell out of myself, but I don’t care anymore. I feel like when I’m near you, I’m safe, and it makes no sense to me. It is the weirdest feeling to have with someone I only know three things about.”

My eyebrows rose at that and I turned to fully face her. “Three?”

“Yes. Three things. Your name is Kier, you’re extremely quiet, and you are the biggest puzzle I’ve ever tried to figure out.”

“I’m the puzzle?”

“Yes!” she said in exasperation.

That had to have been the most backward statement I’d ever heard. “And why am I a puzzle?”

“Because of what I just told you. I don’t know you, you don’t even talk to anyone, and I feel safe when you’re near me! Why is that? I feel like I’m going crazy because all I’ve been able to think about for these past two weeks is you, and how every time you open your mouth it’s like déjà vu, and I just—I don’t know what’s happening.” Her green eyes were massive and she looked like she was on the edge of losing her shit.

I took a few steps toward her and lowered my voice. “Calm down, Indy. You’re fine.”

“I just don’t understand,” she said loudly, the pitch of her voice rising. “Do you believe in past lives?” she asked suddenly.

I paused, a laugh slipping past my lips. “I’m sorry, what?”

“Past lives? Like that whole stupid YOLO saying is really just bullshit, because we’re about to get another shot down the road?”

I tried to contain my smile, but she was really fucking adorable when she was like this. “What does that have to do with what you’re freaking out over?”

“In stories with soul mates they find each other no matter what in every life. And it’s like they have a weird connection they can’t explain.”

I closed the distance between us and dropped my head so I was looking directly into her eyes. “Are you saying we’re soul mates?”

“No!” she said, horror lacing her voice, her cheeks filling with heat.

“I think you were,” I teased.

“I wasn’t, I was just saying that in stories . . . I don’t know what I’m saying, okay? But I don’t get what’s going on with us!” 

“So now there’s an us?”

“Oh my God,” she whispered. “I need to stop talking.”

I laughed and took a step back. “I’m teasing you, Indy. And no, I don’t believe in past lives. I think we have this one, and that’s it.”

She sighed, and her body visibly relaxed. When she spoke again, she sounded exhausted—and in a way, defeated. “I don’t, either, but I can’t figure out how to explain this feeling like I know you.”

I ground my jaw for a few seconds as her green eyes held mine. “Because maybe you do know me. You’re just not ready to remember why.”

Fouling Out by Tiffany King

The warmth inside the building was soothing after walking from the car outside. I felt mildly disappointed when Dalton dropped his arm from my shoulders, until he reached for my hand. As we strolled along, I became hyperaware of how something as innocent as handholding could become somewhat erotic while sipping wine together. Dalton slid his thumb across the top of my hand in slow methodical strokes before gently caressing my pulse point. The hairs on the back of my neck felt as if they were standing on end. Each sweep of his thumb was a sensual dance with my sensitive skin, making it tingle.

It was becoming apparent to me that it might have been a bad call on my part to skip lunch. Between the scent of Dalton’s cologne and the alcohol I was consuming, I was already feeling slightly intoxicated. I nibbled on a few cubes of cheese to attempt to alleviate the buzzing in my head. Dalton’s breath teased my neck, making me shiver in a good way. I should have put some distance between us so I could regain my bearings, but instead I snuggled closer to him, wishing we were somewhere else with a lot fewer people around.

All the air escaped my lungs as Dalton slowly captured a bead of wine from my bottom lip with his finger. I watched with bated breath as he moved the finger to his own mouth, sucking the drop of wine. It was all I could do not to moan as my insides turned to putty.

“You need to stop looking at me like that,” Dalton murmured in my ear.

“Like what?” I licked the rest of the wine off my lip with the tip of my tongue.

This time it was Dalton who groaned softly. Placing his hands on my hips, he slowly backed me into a dim corner, away from prying eyes. “Like you’re thinking how great it would feel if I hoisted you up on that wine barrel table over there with your legs wrapped around my waist.”

“Are you sure that’s not you thinking that?” My hips responded almost instinctively as he pulled me snugly against his body. I could feel him, rock hard, pressed to my stomach. The wanting desire I had been keeping at bay from the moment he showed up at my house looking practically delectable with low-riding jeans and a black V-neck sweater that accentuated his well-toned chest was threatening to explode.

Beneath Your Layers by Christina Lee

I motioned for the bar. “Want me to get you a soda or a water?”

Chloe stared at me for another long moment before she said, “No, thanks.”

We listened to the next song quietly standing beside each other, lost in our own thoughts. Until she turned to me and said, “Truth or dare?”

“Dare,” I said, almost breathless. Given her mood, maybe she’d give me something good this time.

“Your turn, Blake,” she said. “Do something spontaneous.”

My fingers trembled from wanting to touch her so badly and all I could think about was doing just that.

“You sure that’s what you want?” I said, turning and backing her against the wall.

“Yes,” she breathed out.

“Something spontaneous or something I’ve been thinking about doing for days?” I said, my lips coming closer to hers. “Maybe weeks?”

Her breath caught. “It . . . it’s your call.”

My head swung forward, our foreheads practically touching. Fluttery breaths were escaping her lips. I place my arms on either side of her head and she bit down on her lip. 

My heart thrashed in my chest and all I could think about was how desperate I was to kiss her, but how nervous I was to blow this opportunity. 

So I attempted to read her signals and they were definitely mixed. Her eyes flitted between panic and lust.

When I pinned my hip against hers, I could’ve sworn I heard a low moan in the back of her throat.

“Please,” she rasped out. “Please . . . don’t . . . Blake.”

My stomach was in my throat. Fuck, either I’d scared her or I’d been reading her wrong. 

I leaned back to give her space, but her fingers suddenly skimmed across my waist, clenching my shirt and drawing me nearer.

“Don’t what?” I asked in confusion. She was so fucking messing with my head.

“Don’t . . .” She was panting now. “Don’t stop.”

A.L. Jackson
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A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.
She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.
Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

Molly McAdams

Molly grew up in California but now lives in the oh-so-amazing state of Texas with her husband and furry four-legged daughters. When she's not diving into the world of her characters, some of her hobbies include hiking, snowboarding, traveling, and long walks on the beach … which roughly translates to being a homebody with her hubby and dishing out movie quotes. She has a weakness for crude-humored movies, fried pickles and loves curling up in a fluffy comforter during a thunderstorm ... or under one in a bathtub if there are tornados. That way she can pretend they aren't really happening.

Tiffany King

USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iPhone and iPad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.

Christina Lee

Mother, wife, reader, dreamer. Christina lives in the Midwest with her husband and son--her two favorite guys. 

She's addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. She believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job. 

Author of the Between Breaths series from Penguin. ALL OF YOU, BEFORE YOU BREAK and WHISPER TO ME available now, PROMISE ME THIS on October 7th, 2014. 

Also Adult contemporary romance TWO OF HEARTS coming from Peguin/NAL on May 5th 2015.

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