Release Launch: Blocked: Lisa N. Paul

Lisa N. Paul

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Racing hearts, Toe curling kisses, Sexy whispers…

Decker Brand has spent the past four years earning back his man-card. He’s got the calloused hands, the dirty jeans and the toned body to show for it. Now that he’s satisfied with whom he is he intends to stay true to himself even if it means remaining alone.

Lingering glances, Soft touches, Shallow Breaths…

April Maddox thought she’d lucked out when she found her prince at the early age of sixteen. Unfortunately, their kiss turned him from king to croaker right before her eyes.

Forsaken and cynical, she fears all men will leave her with warts before hopping off to another woman’s lily pad.
Smooth strokes, Light nips, Gentle tugs…

When it comes to relationships, they say timing is everything, and everything has its time.

History has played a part in Decker’s and April’s desire to give up on love. Fate will bring them together. It’s up to them to battle the outside forces, life’s interruptions, and daily dramas… together.

With a little faith, they can undo everything that’s been…

Decker could practically see the dimples forming in her cheeks as her giggle tickled him through the line. “Well…” He cleared his throat. “I hate to admit this, but your mother wasn’t altogether wrong, babe. I had no intentions at stopping with just one kiss.” Even though they’d been flirting and chatting for weeks, tonight was their first official date. While it was obvious that April was as attracted to him as he to her, he didn’t want to scare her off, but he also wanted her to know he was no Boy Scout. The way she had his blood churning… mmm, one kiss would have been a mere appetizer.

“I’m glad to hear that, big guy,” April cooed, her voice honey smooth but sinfully sexy, “because I would have been disappointed if one kiss was all you had to offer.”

Decker pulled the phone from his ear and looked at the screen. Yeah, it was still lit and connected to April Maddox. No, he wasn’t dreaming. The woman was sexy as sin. He closed his bedroom door, kicked off his shoes, and sauntered over to his bed. “April”—gravel and heat filled his tone—“will you let me kiss you now?”

Brief silence met his ear—no words, no breath—until she answered in a whisper, “Yes, Decker, I’d love for you to kiss me now. How do you plan to do that?”

The certainty in her answer, mixed with the innocence of her question, had Decker’s cock hard as steel and begging to be released from its confines. “Do you trust me, April?”

A moment of time passed before she stammered, “I-I don’t know.”

Her honest response came as a bit of surprise. He’d never asked that question and received an answer other than “yes.” The truth had him grinning; Ms. Maddox was a smart, sincere woman who told it like it was. He hadn’t earned her trust yet, but he was going to.

“Deck, I didn’t mean—”

“No, April, your answer was honest, and I respect that. So here’s my honest answer—I like you, a lot. I’m not a liar, a cheater, or any of the things that fathers pray their daughters stay away from. I have no intentions of hurting you, and right now, in this moment, I just wanna make you feel good. Now, will you allow me to do that?”

“Yes,” she murmured.

“Go to your bedroom, beautiful,” he ordered.

“I’m already there, big guy.”

While he couldn’t picture the room, having never been to her house, the thought of her surrounded by a huge bed and her flawless skin draped on smooth sheets had him unbuttoning his jeans as he spoke his next demand. “Perfect. Now peel off that sexy top of yours. Just the hot little V-neck, honey. Leave the bra alone, and lie down. And April, keep those incredibly long fingers off your body until I say otherwise.” The sharp intake of breath he heard followed by the soft hum gave him the incentive to continue their game. “Are you lying back?”

“Yes, Decker,” her voice turned husky as she responded. “My shirt is rumpled on the floor, my head’s resting on the pillow, and I’m laying here wearing just a lacy green bra and my jeans.”

“Mmm,” Decker rumbled while he removed his shirt and edged back on his mattress. Her breasts, so firm and round, had teased him all through dinner in that tight black top, and now imagining them in nothing but green lace… his hand grazed over his denim-clad dick. First her, then you, he thought, repeating his motto over in his head. “Close your eyes, April.”

“Decker—” His name wasn’t a question but a plea.

He knew she was letting him in, and he wasn’t going to let her down. “Shh, you said you’d let me kiss you. Now, trust me and close your eyes.”

“Okay,” she murmured, “they’re closed.”

His voice thick with desire, Decker closed his eyes as well and began to instruct April through the most erotic kiss of his life. “Good. Now imagine me beside you, our bodies so close, the heat of my skin warming yours as I lift your chin so I can look into your eyes.

“Imagine my breath, April, a hint of chocolate, sweet and close, caressing your skin with a promise of things yet to come.” With each word Decker’s heart skipped faster, but when he heard her shallow breath, his pulse began to race.

“Keep your eyes closed, beautiful, and lift your left hand to your face. Just before you touch your cheek, rotate your wrist so it’s your knuckles that stroke your skin. Start by your ear, and slowly drag your hand down your jawline. That’s my touch you feel on your soft skin, my knuckles that are making your breaths quicken.”

“Now, move the index finger of that same hand across your silky-soft bottom lip. Do you remember how it felt when my mouth claimed yours? When my tongue breached your lips and slid into your warmth? Fuck.” Decker groaned as the images he painted came alive in his head. “Let me feel your tongue, beautiful. Lick your finger for me.”

“Oh, Decker,” she whimpered, “Christ, how the hell did you do that?”

Sometimes moving on means allowing yourself to actually let go of the hurt from the past. Because holding on to it will block you from finding the happiness you truly do deserve.

This is the story of April Maddox and Decker Brand's rocky road towards love, including the past experiences that scarred them. They are now older, stronger, more aware of their own needs and know what is truly important in life. But they are also out of practice at flirting, dating, and relationships. Their interactions are witty and fun. Their insecurities and dating adventures are endearing. It is realistic seeing them try to fit dating into their busy lives while also dealing with daily commitments,  trust issues, and past demons. She is guarded with big walls up for protection. He has his own past issues that rear their ugly head. But they both have important obligations and an understanding about each other's daily life. And they also both have families and friends that love to offer their opinions.

Decker is sexy, sweet, protective, caring, funny, and respectful. He is downright hot and swoony! And she is sweet, kind, insecure, but can also be feisty and sarcastic. She is likable despite her reservations, fears, and stubbornness. I loved their humor, snark, and chemistry together. 

"Why. Ms. Maddox, are you flirting with me?"
"Oh, hell, I hope so...Because I really suck at this shit."
"Beautiful woman, you have no idea how good at this shit you really are."

It oozes in sexual tension and extended foreplay. But despite their growing attraction and needs, it seems like real life keeps blocking them from getting to all the good parts.  And they have their own internal road blocks that get in the way as well. In order to move past them they will have to systematically deal with their past issues once and for all. Being out of practice and with bad experiences behind them, they are bound to make mistakes and cause their own problems. But they have to figure out how important it is to fight their own fears as well as fight for each other.

Exhibit of total swooniness:
"I needed to ask you those questions earlier, April, because I'm in this...eyes open, parachute off, no safety net. And I wanna make sure I'm not jumping alone." 

This was another well written, engaging story by Lisa N. Paul. She always ends up sucking me in with her complex, likable characters. I will admit that she took a creative risk on how she started this book a bit untraditionally and I am still not sure I was totally grabbed by it, but I was completely invested by the time I got to the traditional prologue and first chapter.

I loved all of the side characters (except the few I was supposed to hate and I did hate them).  Elijah and Charlie were scene stealers.  And I fell for both of April and Decker's siblings August, November, and Ford.  August and Ford especially have the charisma and sincerity to be great male leads. Her friend Rori also seemed to have things about her life that were hidden and interesting. I would love to see their stories continue in future books.

I was thrilled to see the tie in with the Charistown series. It really made me smile. So much about this book actually made me smile or laugh. It had so much humor and fun banter not only between the main couple but also with their families and friends. But there was also enough heartbreak, frustration, and drama to keep it interesting. This was such a real-life type of romance. Life is messy, people are not perfect, mistakes are made, people get hurt, but if they are lucky you get a second chance for happiness and they are smart enough to hold onto it instead of letting it get away.

"So much goodness can rise from the worst devastation, April. One just needs to believe in the possibilities." 

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

April Maddox. Single mother. Divorcee. When her husband announced, only months from the birth of their son, that he was leaving her for another woman, April decided then and there that she wouldn’t give anyone the power to hurt her or her son like that again. For 5 years, her focus has been her son and her job. She didn’t have many friends, nor did she date to prevent anyone from being able to hurt her when they left. 

Decker Brand. Single father. Business owner. Widower. While he has remained single since the death of his wife, he hasn’t avoided women but finding one he was interested in who also didn’t run the other way when she learned of his daughter had proved more difficult. 

But timing is everything.

When Decker stepped in to save the day at the gym, a tentative relationship begins to grow. I say tentative because for a while they moved at a glacial pace. April was so hesitant to open up and let Decker be a part of his life that he showed the patience of a saint, not only in gaining her attention, but in sharing with her what he felt. And though their physical pace was slow, the burn continued to build despite everything standing in their way. 

I loved his thoughtfulness and his ability to see beyond her outward actions to see the reasons behind her hesitation and hot & cold behavior. As a father and as a partner he shows the characteristics of a perfect man -- one who may make mistakes, but never the same mistake twice.

I wasn’t bothered by the pace of their progression. For these two characters, slow and steady was necessary. They are each carrying a lot of baggage from previous relationships. But April’s continual reliance on avoiding heartache for her son as a reason for not dating, or not doing anything beyond work and home began to grate on me as I read. 

This was a nice, smooth read, with few unexpected surprises but great family dynamics. I haven’t read anything else by this author, but enough breadcrumbs were dropped here that I have added her Charistown series to my TBR and look forward to getting to know some of the side characters a little better. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is not part of the Charistown series, but April is friends with Janie from Thursday Nights and some of the characters have cameos in Blocked.  Meet Janie and Max and all their friends   in Thursday Nights as they hang out at Danny's On Main.

Thursday Nights (book 1)

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Storm Front (book 2)
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Breaking to Breathe (book 3)
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Lisa N. Paul

Lisa N. Paul is a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, reader, writer, blogger, and self-proclaimed comedian—just not always in that order.  Ever since she was a little girl, she has devoured books. Falling in love with the Sweet Valley High series at a young age drew Lisa to series books and inspired her to write her own. Thursday Nights is the first book in her Charistown series.

When not writing, Lisa can be found eating french fries and Godiva raspberry truffles, or hanging out with her husband and two sons.


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