Blog Tour and Giveaway: Unexpected Fate: Harper Sloan

Unexpected Fate (Hope Town #1)
Harper Sloan

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Have you ever felt like you were living your life for a future that was predetermined? Like there was some bigger picture you just prayed you would someday see clearly? That picture has been crystal clear to me since I was old enough to recognize it for just what it was.

Or I should say recognize him for who he was.

I’ve loved Cohen Cage since I was a small child. He’s been my everything for the last twenty-two years. I’ve loved him through every girlfriend he’s ever brought home. Through his college years and then mine. I’ve loved him through two deployments. And ever since the day I told him how I felt, he’s acted like I’m a stranger.

My name is Danielle Reid, and it’s time for me to get my man. 

Our future is an unexpected fate, and no matter what our parents, siblings, and friends say…it’s going to be worth every second of the fight to make it happen.

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“Dani-girl.” His voice, that rich rumble of masculine excellence, washes over me and I shiver again before cursing under my breath. The rumble of his low laughter tells me that he definitely didn’t miss that little move.

Kill me now.

“Hey, Coh,” I say with a smile. “What brings you in? Last minute, I might add.” I pat the chair before walking around and holding the back while he sits down.

When his scent hits my nose, I almost come on the spot. Lord, he smells good. I wonder what he would smell like while his body covered mine, all sweaty from hours of good lovemaking. I run my fingers through the longer lengths on the top and feel my cheeks heat slightly, thinking about doing the same when his face is buried between my legs.

“…needed a trim.”

Shit. I missed what he said because, naturally, I was thinking about him naked. Naked and thrusting into my body. Naked and feasting between my spread thighs.

“You feeling okay? I thought Nate said you were better?”

“Uh, I’m fine. Just—is it hot in here?” I fan my face and avoid his eyes.

He’s silent, so I take that as a sign that it’s safe to bring my attention back to him.

Big mistake there. His knowing eyes are boring right into mine. The chocolate depths sparkling in a way that makes it clear he has a good idea about where my mind was going.

“Did you hear what I said, Dani-girl?”

“Of course I did, Cohen. What, did you think I was standing here daydreaming?” I joke.

“Well, yeah, that’s exactly what I think.” His eyes darken and he smirks a devilish grin. “Did you know you talk in your sleep, Dani?” he asks, and I drop my comb.

Oh, God. Shut up, shut up, shut up. This is not happening. No way.

“No, I don’t,” I childishly snap.

“Dani, you do. So, yeah, I do think you were standing there daydreaming. Want to know why?” He uses his booted foot to move his chair so that he’s facing me, and then he leans in so that his face is dangerously close to mine. Even when he’s seated, his head is almost level with my own. Curse my horizontally challenged self. “While you were zoning off into space with your fingers running through my hair, you had this smile on your lips. The same smile you had the other day when you were dreaming. About me, Dani. And don’t deny it, because you don’t moan my name if you’re dreaming about another man. Yes, Dani, you very much do talk in your sleep.” He smiles again before leaning back and looking down to his phone. “Clean up my neck please, cut the length off the top, and give me a buzz on the sides. Other than that, you’re clear to continue with your thoughts.”

I must have been standing there like an idiot because he looks up from his phone, laughs to himself, and, with one tan hand, reaches out and pushes my mouth closed.

“You’re going to catch flies that way, Dani-girl. One day, maybe you can clue me in on what those dreams are about.”

Drives me insane, the control he has over me. There isn’t a single person in the world, other than Cohen, who can turn me into a ridiculously stupid, sputtering fool. My normal confidence disappears. And clearly, he isn’t as oblivious to my feelings as I originally thought.

How in the hell am I supposed to handle this?

Wait a minute. Cohen or not, I’m not going to let him pull my strings when I know he is just doing this to make me feel uncomfortable.

So, time to call his bluff.

“Why? You planning on doing something about it?”

He looks up sharply, clearly not having expected me to actually say something in return since he was going for shock value.

“Try me,” he demands, his voice thick and even deeper than normal.

I throw my head back and reach out to run my fingers thought his hair again, just barely suppressing the shivers. Curling my fingers slightly so that I can grab a good hold, I lean in and pull his head back at the same time. With my nose just a hair away from his and our breaths mingling together, I say, “Cohen, you couldn’t handle the truth of my thoughts when it comes to you and we both know it. So how about you let me know when you’re ready for me to clue you in.” I give his hair a light tug and smile when he swallows loudly and shifts in his seat. “Ready for that trim?” I ask with a wink, and I’m rewarded with his groan.

I have no idea how I do it, but I manage to get through his cut without coming unglued. I can see Lyn trying to get my attention from across the room. Stella had to leave after she overheard my words to Cohen because her giggles were getting the best of her. Cohen has remained silent the whole time. His eyes though… They’re speaking louder than his words ever could.

They haven’t left my reflection in the mirror since I started. I can feel them every time I shift. When I stopped to go grab another comb after I dropped my fourth one, I felt his gaze follow me across the room to Stella’s station. The few times I stopped cutting to meet his eyes, the heated promise written all over his face almost did me in. I almost just said ‘fuck it’ and climbed on his lap to have a go regardless of the people watching our every move.

I finish the last buzz of my clippers around his right ear and move to brush all the stray hair off. “All done,” I say softly and unclip his cape.

He stands, shoving his phone in the back pocket of his jeans, and walks over to stand in front of me. I continue to pretend I’m busy with the cape I just removed, brushing stray hairs off here and there, when his hand comes up, his finger and thumb hitting my chin, and my face is lifted until I have no choice but to look in his eyes.

“Do not tease me, Dani. It’s not a game you want to play if you don’t intend to follow through.”

“I-I wasn’t… I wouldn’t,” I stammer.

“You did, and I have no doubt you’ll have the brilliant idea to do it again. The next time you allude to those dirty thoughts I know you have about me, don’t think for a second that I won’t drag you to the closest bed to show you just how fucking dirty they’ll get.” He leans close, his scent hitting my nostrils, and I involuntarily inhale deeply, earning me a rumbled chuckle. “What you don’t know, Dani—because contrary to what you think, you don’t know me well enough to assume what having me would really be like. But I promise you this: every little thought that you have had that causes you to moan my name while scissoring those perfect legs back and forth, praying for completion—it would be so much hotter than you could ever imagine.” He gives me a soft, sweet kiss against my temple that has fire racing from that spot all over my body until it ends in the awareness that I’m pretty sure I just came in my pants.

"We've been fated for this moment since before we were even born, baby, and I'm beyond fortunate with this unexpected fate that's been given to us." 

Cohen has always been smart, strong-willed, a bit wild, and stubborn. He is the adopted son of Greg and Melissa Cage. After being raised with the guys of Corps Security, he is now alpha, bossy, protective, and foul-mouthed in his own right. He is black ops military and is often gone and out of contact. One thing that can usually bring down these tough guys is the right woman. And for Cohen, the right woman has always been Dani Reid. It just always seemed like the wrong time. She is the daughter of his father's very overprotective best friend, Axel and his wife, Lizzy. There is a five year age difference that was especially an issue when they were younger. And their families are extremely close with all of the siblings also being best friends. All of this makes Cohen hesitant to start anything.

But Dani's crush on Cohen is not a very well kept secret and it just seems to keep growing as she gets older. She starts to push him and he begins to push back. And they have a whole group of siblings and friends pushing them together too. But his time is limited due to an upcoming deployment. And eventually everything is finally out in the open and they cannot deny or resist anymore.

Cohen Cage owned my heart and I never wanted it back.

"It was unexpected, baby, but it was fate. It's our unexpected fate, and I have no doubt in my mind that his happened at the perfect time, for us, even if it sucks knowing I won't hold you in my arms for a while..."

Dani is sassy, strong, determined and knows what she wants. Although part of her likes being Daddy's little Princess, she also wants to be independent and grown up.  Cohen has grown up to be just like his Dad, Greg...tough, honorable, charismatic, protective, sexy, and dirty talking. He tries to do the right thing, but sometimes that just makes things worse.

Dani has some challenges to face while Cohen is gone. And Cohen is faced with duty and not being where he knows he wants to be. So they are challenged not only by new revelations, separation, life changes, and danger that could put both of them at risk. So even at times as they are growing individually, they are apart. But still have some growing to do together as well. 

I adored them together, Their lifelong bond, attraction, and chemistry was obvious. They had just been kept apart so long by road blocks, some internal and some external. But I loved seeing the walls come down. It was a bit hard for me at times to think about the previously precocious young superhero Cohen all grown up as the the dirty talking alpha in the bedroom. And the one criticism I have is that some of the sex scenes seemed almost too much...like that they were trying a bit too hard. But it is not all that surprising since all of these guys are pretty dominant, dirty, and insatiable.

This is a story of a lifelong friendship, family, new love, separation, surprises, and fate. And it is layered with some components of mystery, suspense, and danger. It had tension, sadness, joy, passion, danger, humor and lots of fun characters. There were so many situations that had me laughing. I enjoyed glimpses into their families...stand outs were Dani's crazy overprotective Dad, Axel and her brother, Nate.

Not only do we get to reconnect with our fave couples who are now their parents, but we meet all the grown up offspring....Nate Reid; Lyn, Lila, Cam and Colt Cage: Maddi an Ember Locke: Zac and Jaxon Cooper: and Liam Becke. I love that they are all as close as their parents and they both support and taunt each other. All of these kids had unique, fun personalities and obviously have stories to tell, so hopefully we will see them in future books. Cohen's room mate Chance and a war widow Megan and her daughter also were part of this story. And no Corps Security related book would be complete without scene stealer, glitter spraying Sway who is now joined by his husband and daughter, Stella. We were also briefly introduced to the four band members of Loaded Replay that will have a spin off too. It already has me intrigued. So there are a lot of ways for Harper Sloan to keep spinning stories with these characters and I will gladly read any of them. I love her characters, easy flowing writing style, layers of the story, and point of view changes. This one pulled me in just like her Corps Security and gave us the best of both worlds with old friends we love and new young characters to become invested in. 

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

“I know you don’t look at me like I look at you, but one day, you’re going to come back and I’ll still be waiting for you. Waiting for you to see me like I see you.”

Dani Reid has loved Cohen cage for as long as she can remember. But she has kept her feelings as quiet as she could when she thought her feelings weren’t reciprocated.

Cohen Cage has followed in his father’s military footsteps, serving in a black-ops Marine unit that often deployed on missions that take him away from home for months at a time, often with no contact during his missions.

But the night before his latest deployment, the feelings they each hide from the other surface and one night together is enough to reinforce Dani’s conviction that Cohen is it for her. And enough for Cohen to admit that what he feels for Dani isn’t inappropriate and that she will in fact wait for him during this time apart.
I loved the man Cohen has grown into, with hints of the little boy he once was shining through. (Remember his obsession with Greg’s hardware? Or the capes, superheroes, and ninja battles?) His was a story I was particularly looking forward to.

Dani as an adult was maybe less anticipated for me, though she didn’t disappoint. Having grown up as Axel’s “Little Princess” she is constantly surrounded by alpha males: her father, her brother, her uncles...every male in her life, with the exception of Sway, is alpha to the max. So when danger strikes, it takes every ounce of strength she possesses to stand up to the protective men around her.

“When it comes to love, it’s always worth the sacrifice. Always.”

I could not have imagined everything that Dani and Cohen would face as a result of their single night prior to his departure. The tension that ran under everything kept me turning the page, wondering how long Cohen would be kept in the dark, what the repercussions would be when he found out, and how everything could possibly play out. There were a couple times their actions surprised me, and maybe were a little off-putting based on everything going on, but overall I loved every moment of this story.

“You and Cohen, darling girl… You two have been fated from the beginning, and there isn’t a damn thing that could take that away from you.”

I loved the nature of their relationship, having developed from childhood. But fated or not, this is not a straight and easy path. By turns I was laughing out loud at Axel or Sway, and dabbing tears at the emotion swirling around. This was a sweet, funny, meant to be story, with a bit of suspense and danger thrown into the mix: just what I would expect from the kids of two of the original Corps Security group.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Although Unexpected Fate can be read as a standalone, the HopeTown series is a spin off of Corps Security Series. The new series focuses on the offspring of the original series.

Harper lives in small town Georgia just a short drive from her hometown of Peachtree City. She (and her 3 daughters) enjoy ruling the house they dubbed 'Estrogen Ocean', much to her husbands chagrin. Harper has a borderline unhealthy obsession with books; you can almost ALWAYS find her with her eReader attached. She enjoys bad reality TV and cheesy romantic flicks. Her favorite kind of hero--the super alpha kind!

Harper started using writing as a way to unwind when the house went to sleep at night; and with a house full of crazy it was the perfect way to just relax. It didn't take long before a head full of very demanding alphas would stop at nothing to have their story told.
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