Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Spotlight on Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden Mills: Leo's POV, Review and Giveaway

Born into a life of privilege and secrets, Nora Blakely has everything any nineteen-year-old girl could desire. She’s an accomplished pianist, a Texas beauty queen, and on her way to Princeton after high school. She’s perfect…

Leaving behind her million-dollar mansion and Jimmy Choos, she becomes a girl hell-bent on pushing the limits with alcohol, drugs, and meaningless sex.

Then she meets her soulmate. But he doesn’t want her.

When it comes to girls, twenty-five-year-old Leo Tate has one rule: never fall in love. His gym and his brother are all he cares about...until he meets Nora. He resists the pull of their attraction, hung up on their six year age difference.

As they struggle to stay away from each other, secrets will be revealed, tempers will flare, and hearts will be broken.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy…where sometimes, the best things in life are Very Bad Things.

4.5 Star Review by Lisa Kane

“Even after all that has happened to me, I’ve never given up wishing on stars.”

Nora Blakely is a mirage. To the outside world she is brainy and sophisticated and in control. Inside, she is a bowl of jello, sloshing from side to side, using safety mechanisms like defining words in her head and imaging people as animals. Her mother is a television personality on a popular morning show, Good Morning Dallas and makes Joan Crawford look like June Cleaver. She needs to trade her Mercedes for a broomstick so she can write Surrender Nora in the sky. Her father, a wealthy beyond wealthy businessman, spends his time in the office or screwing other women who aren’t his wife. Her half- brother Finn, on the surface, is a closet junkie who will soon be returning home to live with dysfunctional mess of a family. Underneath his façade, is a whole lot of story.

Nora is Briarcrest Academy’s star pupil, until she decides to rebel in a big way at the Open House.

“If these people only knew the dirty truth about me. How weak I was. How I was dying a little bit every day in small doses. Would they look at me differently?
“It felt good to be bad.”

After her little outburst, she gains the attention of two guys in the audience. One is Leo Tate and his little brother Sebastian. Leo, a former musician from LA, is now a successful businessman, owning high end exercise facilities. He’s here because his brother will be attending Briarcrest and he is his legal guardian (their parents are dead). He finds himself mesmerized by Nora, who he calls “buttercup” in his mind (all that gorgeous blond hair of hers). They have a moment..

“As if she sensed me, her eyes opened, and when her green ones found mine, I swear, it felt like someone hit the pause button on the universe, and she was all I could see.”

The two have a run in later when Nora has another impulse to self- destruct and do some damage. Leo feels himself drawn to her, but she is a high school senior and he is a 25 year old man. Despite Nora’s every attempt to seduce Leo (he has the occasional fall from grace) he forces himself to resist and uses his current girlfriend to get over his attraction for Nora. She tries to put him out of her mind by taking a second look at a former lover, Drew. But the heart wants what the heart wants and in the end, nature will prevail.

“Why did they call it heartbreak, when it felt like my entire body was dying?”

The two have some steamy encounters that will leave you panting.

“Want you so much. I’ve dreamed about making love to you a thousand times, “he whispered out, and the anguish I heard in his voice terrified me.

I loved this book! I loved Nora and Leo, though they drove me nuts with their ridiculous attempts to get over each other. Leo at one point pissed me off so badly, I almost wrote him off as no longer being swoon worthy. I loved Leo’s brother Sebastian and Nora’s aunt who is such a calming force for her. I detested her parents, although her father grew on me a little and Leo’s fu*k buddy, Tiffani. (make sure you use the “I” not the “y”!) We had better hope she never joins forces with Nora’s mother! This story has an underlying note of sadness, as Nora has endured pain and abuse and lives in constant fear. The co-mingling of suspense and romance only enhances this book.

The secondary characters, Mila, Teddy, and Cuba enrich the canvas of the storyline bringing their own particular quirks and flaws to the party. This is one series I am looking forward to; I hope Ms. Madden-Mills has lots of Briarcrest novels in the works!

Bonus scene from Leo's POV

Remember the restaurant scene, the one where Nora asks Leo if he wants to go in the bathroom and get a little action? Here is it again, but in Leo’s POV. This scene is a bonus and unedited, which means you may find grammatical errors.

Leo’s POV in Chapter 9

“That girl is a tease. Why do I like it?” –Leo Tate

Ricardo’s was a fancy Italian place downtown featuring elegant black and silver décor, a lush outdoor dining garden, and some of the best red sauce I’d ever tasted. The Dallas Herald named it as one of the top five restaurants in the city, yet I didn’t care about the chicken parmigiana or the cute little brunette who was our waitress. No, I sat there, sipping on my watery rum and Coke while the two building contractors I was interviewing droned on about commercial grade nets and asphalt. Truth be told, I didn’t give a shit what they said about tennis courts because I’d lost my mind a little bit. All over some high school girl.

A waiter stopped at our table and set down a basket of garlic bread and a plate of softened butter, which I noted was the same color as her hair. Yellow like sunshine; yellow like a buttercup. My hand clenched in the act of bringing the bread to my mouth. Enough of this ridiculous, sappy shit. No more thinking about her and how she’d smiled when she slept next to me. No more being pleased that she got Teddy like I did. No more imagining making music with her or flying to Paris with her. And I was definitely done with remembering how beautiful she was.

The imperfect princess was not for me.

She may be a Lamborghini, but I was never going to drive her.

“Leo, you gonna make love to that piece of bread or what?” joked Joe, one of the contractors I’d invited to lunch.

I took a bite of the bread and chewed, thinking Joe was an ass. In his late forties and sporting a paunch, he’d been abrasive since the moment I’d arrived. Judging by the red nose and flushed skin, he probably had a drinking problem or high blood pressure. He’d downed three martinis already, so I was going with alcoholic. We weren’t off to a stellar start.

I carefully set the bread down on the plate. “Never getting married,” I said.

“Why? Being married doesn’t mean your life is over. It hasn’t stopped me from getting new pussy,” he said, chuckling. “In fact, I got laid last night. Fucked the new nanny.”

I cringed inwardly, hoping I didn’t sound this crass when I talked about girls. I wanted to be a good example for Sebastian, but I’d begun to question if I was. I didn’t want to be like Joe, yet his comment was a bleak reminder of my own cavalier attitude.

If I ever got married…not gonna happen…I’d want it to be true and real. Like my parents. But who was I kidding? Love only comes to those who have an open heart, and mine is locked up tight.

Joe continued to spout off about his latest conquest, and I ignored him. It bugged me that he cheated on his wife. Being unfaithful to a spouse is disgusting to me.

Soon after, the waiter brought our lunches and we ate. After the plates had been cleared, we ordered another round of drinks and sat around and bullshitted about football in Texas. I started to feel good; I felt relaxed; I didn’t feel like punching Joe in the nose for asking if I was going to make out with a piece of bread.

But, fuck, right in the middle of feeling like all was fine and well, a hot tingle zapped up my spine, and like a sixth sense, my gut knew. Oh, I knew. She. Was. Here.

My eyes raced the perimeter of the restaurant, freezing when they collided with her green ones which were lasered in on mine like she’d been staring for a while. Her look was hot and intense and it should have made me squirm, but it didn’t. My body came alive. Like a man in the desert, I thirsted for her.

Nora sat about twenty yards away at a table by the window with her mother. Her hair was done up in some kind of fancy style, and she wore a low-cut green dress. She looked gorgeous, yet I thought I could see the familiar sadness on her face. Was she a perpetually sad person? No, I’d seen the lightness in her, the gleam in her eyes when she laughed. I bit back a smile, remembering how she’d goaded me at the park with her ice-cream, offering to show me her newly pierced nipple. My dick twitched.

I prayed for the check to arrive soon. I needed to leave.

Not yet able to look away, I fumbled around for my wallet, hoping to get the waitress’s attention for the check. Nora arched her eyes at me and nodded surreptitiously towards the bar that was located inside a dark alcove to the left of where we sat. I shook my head at her. Nope.

None of that. Not going to happen, I yelled at my hard-on.

She nibbled on her lips and gazed at me, her eyes begging me. Taken aback by her boldness, I still somehow managed to look away, but kept her in my peripheral. Nora was volatile, and I never knew what she would do next.

She stood up from her table and made her way to ours, her full lips curved up in an invitation. Her gaze swept over the other two men and then landed squarely on me. She paused in front of me, like she wanted to say something, but then she turned and walked away. Every male eye at the table watched her heart-shaped ass sashay toward the bar.

I groaned.

“You know that sweet piece?” Joe piped up. “Cause that’s a come-on if I ever saw one. And if it ain’t for you, then I’m all over that,” he said, tossing his napkin on his plate and scooting his chair back.

“Sit the fuck down,” I snapped. “That little show was not for you, and she’s out of your league anyway.” I slapped a couple of hundreds on the table, stood up, and nodded.

“Gentlemen, I’ll be in touch if I decide to go with you.” Which was highly unlikely.

I pivoted around to go follow that sweet piece.

I found her at the bar, sipping on a glass of water, looking all casual.

“Not drinking today?” I said, settling myself on a stool next to her.

“No fake ID,” she said softly, reminding me of her age. She placed her hand on my leg and began rubbing the taut muscles there. I didn’t move away.

She cocked an eyebrow at me. “You seem tense. Is there anything I can do to help you relax?”

 “I just came over to see how you’re doing,” I replied, trying to keep my voice cool when inside I was on fire.

She scowled and took her hand away. I immediately missed it. “Why? Because you feel bad for the poor little rich girl with all the problems?”

Kind of. I looked away from her.

“Let’s go in the bathroom and fuck,” she said, the words falling from her glossy lips like little bombs.

Fuck! She’d managed to gain total control of this situation. Just like at the park. I cursed my stupidity for following her into the bar. This was about her list. She didn’t want me; she wanted anyone. I stood up from the stool. Let Joe have her. But the thought of his meaty hands on her silky skin made my temper spike.

“No?” she said. “You know, one of my favorite books has this sizzling, hot chapter where the main characters go to lunch together. And even though it’s a first date, they end up fucking in a bathroom stall, because they can’t wait to get at each other. He just bends her over and gives it to her, hard and fast. I’d like to reenact that scene.” She took a hasty sip of water like she was nervous. “All we’d have to do is pick the biggest stall, and then you flip my dress up and take me from behind. Or I could get on my knees for you? I’d suck you, if you like.”

I pinched the bridge of my nose, fighting back the caveman urge to snatch her up and drag her into that bathroom stall. Did she have any idea what her words did to me? How much I yearned to see her on her knees for me.

I swallowed. The only way to make this craziness stop was to hurt her. “You don’t want me, Nora. I’ll fuck you, and when I’m done, I’ll leave you.”

She seemed to falter yet the words that came out of her mouth were confident. “Well if not you, then someone else will do,” she said with a shrug, looking around the bar. “Who should I choose? There’s the young guy over there in the corner with the power suit and buzz cut who’s been trying to catch my eye since I sat down . . . although I think I see a wedding band on his hand. He’s out, I suppose. Even I have standards. And, there’s the fortyish-looking guy sitting across from me. He’s been staring at my breasts.” She smiled and waved at the gentleman in question, and he waved back, a hopeful look on his face. “Oh yeah, definitely interested.”

She opened her purse and pulled out a pen and wrote her name and number on a bar napkin. She pushed it over to me. “Do me a favor? Take this over to him and tell him what a great girl I am. How good I am. How you know I’m not really bad.” She stared at the bulge in my pants. “Maybe tell him how hard you get when I talk about fucking.”

I pulled her off the stool until she stood next to me, both of our chests heaving and tempers flaring. “Go back to your damn table. No fucking today, Nora,” I bit out.

She batted her lashes. “Tomorrow?”

“Are you high?” I asked, my eyes boring into hers, looking for signs of drug use. I couldn’t let her go down that road. For some wacked out reason, I wanted to save her. I wanted to rescue her before she did something she’d regret.

Or was it us I had to save? I blinked at that odd, unwelcome thought. Where on earth had that idea come from?

She laughed. “God, no. This is all me. I don’t need drugs to be a whore, Leo. I can do it all by myself.”

A young waiter appeared at our side. “Miss Blakely, your mother asked me to look for you?” he said in his Italian accent.

She smiled at him reassuringly, and I didn’t miss that he brightened at her attention. I scowled at him until he shifted uncomfortably and scurried off. Did every guy in the place want her?

She leaned in and kissed my cheek, her nose trailing up along my face, inhaling my scent. I couldn’t resist her closeness, so I pulled her tighter against me, not caring that people were watching us. And in that extraordinary moment, I wanted her like I’d never wanted anything in my entire life, including money, music, sex, food…hell, air. I wanted her so bad it hurt, and it wasn’t about fucking or getting sucked off in a bathroom stall. It was her. Nora. Just Nora and the way she made my body sing. So I gave in and held her against me for a second, but in the end, I got scared. I pushed her away.

© Ilsa Madden-Mills 2013

This scene is unedited, which means you may find grammatical errors.

 Barnes and Noble

a Rafflecopter giveaway


How to Configure Numbered Page Navigation After installing, you might want to change these default settings: