Sunday, September 4, 2016

Review Tour: Stripped Down by Emma Hart


What do you get when you mix a bottle of tequila, a single mom moonlighting as a stripper, and her sinfully sexy boss with an impulsive side?

Married. You get married.

Rich. Demanding. Hot. Crazy.

That was Beckett Cruz in a nutshell.

Not to mention wild, determined, dangerous, and forbidden.

He was my boss—and, after a drunken moment of insanity, my new husband.

An annulment was impossible... so was keeping him.

I was taking my daughter and leaving, determined to give her a quieter life.

But Beckett Cruz had never taken no for an answer.

And he wasn't about to take mine.

What happens in Vegas... might just keep you there.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000037_00035]
4 stars
Review by Lisa Kane

Cassie does what she has to do to support her six year old daughter Ciara. She's a stripper at The Landing Strip, a Vegas strip club. She's a single mom, and besides having sole responsibility for her little one, her dad has cancer. His insurance sucks and her parents are having a hard time. They are her rocks and they do everything they can to help her with Ciara. So she helps out as much as she can with their bills, which leaves very little for extras. 

She wishes she had a better education and had more options, but she got pregnant at 16, her her baby at 17 and barely got a high school diploma. 

When I was around my six year old daughter, Ciara, I had to be happy. I had to hide the pain to explain everything to her, but now, without her here, the pain wanted to escape. 

Cassie is having an off night. Her dad is on her mind constantly and it's affecting her attitude. Bachelor parties and single guys want sassy, hot strippers, not brooding ones. Her boss, Beckett Cruz notices right away and pulls her aside. He wants her to go home and take the night off. But she needs the money. Beck is hot, gorgeous and rich as hell from his ventures with West Rykman, the primary owner of Rock Solid, the men's club next door. 

Being alone with Beck throws Cassie for a loop. It's no secret her boss is known as a master of the pump and dump. No commitments, nothing permanent. Which is fine with Cassie, the last thing she needs or wants is a relationship. But let's face it, Beck is one hot man, and as a former male stripper, he's built like a god. He just may be more than a little into Cassie and being enclosed in his office together, sharing a drink he insisted she have with him, is giving her all kinds of delicious thoughts. 

"Cassie," he said in a rough voice. "This is the one time I accept the word no."
Maybe it was that, or maybe it was the husky tone of his voice, or maybe it was the way our mouths were so close that I could taste the tequila on his breath. I didn't know, but whatever it was, it made me close the distance between our mouths and kiss him.

Things heat up, they take their lust off premises and the next morning...they're both horrified that they are wearing wedding rings, have little memory of the night before. 

That wasn't the kind of irresponsible I had been thinking of when I'd done the tequila shots last night. Too drunk to walk? Sure. Vomit all morning? Okay. Hangover that'd last for three days in the back of my mind? Annoying but okay. 
A wedding ring? Um, no.  

Both want out and they agree to a quick annulment. Of course that is more complicated than they think it should be, and they are stuck being married for a little longer than they would like. Beck is supportive and tries to help Cassie with things so she can relax just a little. But as much as Cassie would love to think that they could have a future (he is so sweet with her daughter!) she knows he is out of her league. 

He was forbidden. 
I couldn't have him.
I was damned if I didn't want him.
Then again, I was damned if I did.
And I did.
I was fucked, no matter how you looked at it.
I wanted my boss.
My accidental husband.

Stripped Down is funny and poignant and full of steam and such hot sex you better get out the kitchen mitts to hold onto your e-reader. Cassie frustrated me with all the barriers she kept throwing up to block Beck from getting to her heart. But he doesn't scare easily and in spite of his commitment fears, he knows what he has with Cassie and Ciara and he isn't about to lose either one of them. (he's hot, rich, sweet, loyal and dominating-if she doesn't scoop him up-I have no problem knocking out the competition to get to Mr. Cruz.

"Say what you want about us, but this isn't over, Cassie Cruz. Not be a long fucking shot."
He released me the second the final word left his mouth, and by the time the lights came back on, he was gone. 
And I couldn't breathe.
Cassie Cruz.
That's what he'd called me.
His last name.
I didn't feel all that drunk anymore. 

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“Beck?” I managed to get his name out just before he opened the front door.

“Yeah?” He spun back to face me, his dark eyes unreadable.

I turned my face to the side so I could see him fully. “You don't have to go,” I said softly. “You can stay. Only if you want to though.”

He rubbed his hand down his face, his eyes never leaving mine, then walked back into the kitchen toward me. I stood up away from the fridge as he stopped right next to me.

Slowly, he touched his hand to my face, his fingertips teasing my hairline. His dark gaze searched mine, and my heart jumped into my throat as the usual tingles his touch sparked danced down my neck. Then, he slid his hand into my hair, allowing the blonde strands to fall away from his fingertips.

“Do I want to go home to my big-ass house with its cold emptiness?” he asked in a low voice. “Or go to the club where half the girls there still see me as a mountain to be conquered? Not particularly, Blondie. I'd rather stay here. Even if there will be a demand for movies and water and foot rubs from a tiny, sick person.”

“You can.” My voice was quiet, like his. Even if my internal screams from self-preservation and vulnerability were deafeningly loud as they told me I was a fool, that he had
to go, that this would never be enough for him.

“Do you want me to?” His question was... honest.



Like he didn't want me to answer.

“Do I want you to stay here in my tiny house so my daughter can fall more in love with you than she already is? Not really. But...” Don't be a fool, Cassie. Don't admit you want him to stay. He's just going to hurt you. “I don't exactly want you to go either.”

“For her, or for you?”

“I don't want to answer that question.”

“If I kissed you right now, would you ram your knee into my cock?”

“I'd briefly consider it, but I probably wouldn't do it.”

His lips twitched to the side. “You just answered the question.”

Then, of course, he cupped the back of my head, and he kissed me. It was slow, sweet, gentle. And I didn't consider kneeing him in the balls for a single second.

Beck pulled back and trailed his hand down my arm before he finally let me go. “I'm going home to get changed and then come back. Do you need anything while I'm gone? For CiCi? You?”

“I don't...” I sighed and chewed back my pride. “I meant to go to the store today after work to get some stuff like bread, milk... important stuff. But now I can't.”

“I can get it. Just tell me what you need.”

I bit the inside of my lip, then nodded. “Okay. Let me write it down.” I walked through into the front room with him hot on my heels and grabbed the notebook and pen from under the coffee table. A few things were already scrawled down, so I added a couple more things, including more medicine. I tore the sheet off the notebook, stood, then gave it to Beck. “Let me get my wallet.”

He grabbed my wrist, stopping me. “I'm not taking your money.”

I lifted my gaze to his. “You can't pay for my groceries.”

“I can and I will.”

“You can't and you won't.”

“I can and I will.”

“You can't and you won't.”

“I can do this all day, baby. I'm stubborn as fuck.” His eyes told me he wasn't lying. “And we all know I'm a brat about the word no. So, I can, I will, and I'm going to. If I can't help you by buying a measly eight items, I'm an asshole who shouldn't be allowed around other people.”

“You can't buy my groceries,” I repeated. It was a lame argument. I was going to lose, but I'd fight until I went down.

Beck's eyes twinkled as he leaned in. “Don't worry. If you really want to pay me back, I'll take a blow job. I imagine your lips around my cock will be a pretty good thank you.”

My jaw dropped as he backed off with a wink.

“Mouth open already, Cassie? Enthusiasm. I like that.”

I snapped my jaw shut and glared at him. “You're a dirty pig.”

“I know. But I've got fifty bucks that says you'll be sucking my dick by bedtime. If you don't agree...” He shrugged one shoulder, his lips curved in that dangerous smirk.

“If you're lucky, I'll bite it.”

“I'll take that as I'm in for a good time.”

One more wink, complete with expanding grin, and he was gone.

Motherfucking asshole.


DSC_9249By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies - usually wine - and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy - unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.


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