Friday, September 19, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Bad Son Rising by Julie A. Richman

People think I'm a douche.
And maybe I am.
I use most people.
It's what I know.
But if I love you,
I'd die for you.
I just don't know that I'm worth loving.

Handsome, privileged bad boy Zac Moore has always played by his own rules - at school, in business, with women. He's rewritten the rules to suit his own needs and his needs are all that matter.

Serious and focused family friend Liliana Castillo has one goal. Leave the pre-Med program at Yale to help people in developing nations.

As their paths cross and uncross, a tale of love, agony, betrayal and growth is woven, transforming two people who've hidden from relationships and love.

This is a stand-alone novel.

4.5 Star Review by Lisa Kane

Zak Moore has redeemed himself over the course of the Needing Moore Series. He's still a bit of a tool, but he has softened his heart and opened it up to love. He is particularly close to his siblings; Nate and Portia. His relationship with his step mom Mia is much improved and he is comfortable with his dad's new family.

He is back at Bryson College, his Sophomore year and has quite a betting business going with his roommate Brian. Together these two pretty much rule over the school and the panty drawers of most of the women there. He provides his best friend Liz with a cover. She has yet to come out to her family, and Zak is the convenient "boyfriend" who accompanies her to the family functions. Zak is still screwing his way through the female population, but he hasn't been able to forget Liliana Castillo. He met her at his dad's wedding to Mia, and despite his best efforts, she pretty much ignored him. They shared one memorable dance and that was it. She goes to Yale (pre-med) but her heart is in Africa. She is chomping at the bit to go back there again and volunteer. Schooner and Mia Moore met her while they were in Africa and she was close to their adopted daughter Portia.

Unfortunately for Zak, he hasn't exactly endeared himself with some of the male students. They are jealous and looking to get rid of him. Some of Zak's entrepreneurial businesses give them the perfect opportunity to bring his activities to the dean. The same Dean who has never been very fond of him to start with. Zak finds himself expelled, his father verbally expressing his disappointment in him and his plans for the future uncertain.

"We've hit some pretty low spots, Zac, and this is right there with the best of them," Schooner's jaw was tight. "How much lower are you going to sink, hmm?"

When it is suggested to him to go to Africa to volunteer, the idea appeals to him. Especially since Lilly is there.

So off he goes, only he finds Lilly seems to be involved with William, one of the project's leaders. But Zak finds himself drawn into the mission; providing clean, fresh water to the villages. It is dangerous work, but the budding engineer in Zak is fascinated.

Slowly he makes some progress with Lily; she brings out feelings in him he never has felt before. He may have found some female company amongst the other volunteers, for his sexual needs,  while he is there, but he doesn't just want that with Lily. Zak is his own worst enemy. He still feels totally unworthy of Lily, and he has never had a normal relationship with a woman. From the time he was 13 and was seduced by one of his mother's society friends, sex is just a function-a chasing of the climax for his body, but never for his heart or soul.

"My moral compass with sex was smashed when I was so young that understanding right from wrong probably didn't come as naturally to me as it does to most people. Really early, I began equating sex with using and being used. It was all I knew. And she had done it to me, used me and, in turn, that is what I did to others. I'd hoped it would make me feel better, but it never did. It never does."
There are dangers in this mission, life and death ones. When faced with the very real possibility of his and Lily's death, he takes the high road and chooses to protect her at all costs-even if it means he will die trying. His thoughts when faced with his own mortality were poignant, and I found my eyes getting wet.

These events start a domino effect that will affect Lily and Zak's relationship. If the only way you can protect the one you love is by shattering their heart what do you do?

"I don't know how to be part of a relationship, I just know how to use people, how to con people and I don't want to hurt you." 
I loved this latest addition to this series. Zak is no bad boy, he has a heart as big as the panty melting smile he wears, and he just needed to find the right person who held the key to it. He always had good in him, but no way to let that show.

"I wanted to do the right thing. I wanted to help those I cared about. I guess I was just limited in understanding how."

I certainly hope there will be more stories to follow.

Zac Moore no longer had to worry that Liliana Castillo would discover his ugly scars. She had seen them, in the harshest of lights, and still loved him.

 "Lils, I don't know that I'm great boyfriend material. I'm used to being a dick. It's what I know." He was hoping she'd say something, but she didn't. "But I would want it to be different with you. You're not a drive-by. And I don't really know how to do the other stuff. But you make me want it. You make me want to try."

Sweeping her hair to one side, he buried his face in her neck.

Finally, she spoke, "Are you saying this to me because we're stuck here? Because if you are, don't. I don't want a one night stand with you, Zac."

Letting his teeth graze the soft skin of her neck, he felt her shiver, "I don't want a one night stand with you either and with my track record I know that may be hard to believe. And of course the one girl I want to believe it, doesn't." Pulling his mouth away from her delicious tasting neck, he rested his chin on her shoulder.

"Ok, I've got nothing to lose here," he began. "The weekend we met, all I wanted to do was make you notice me," he laughed, "and you didn't even know that I was alive. I wanted to make you smile, Lils. Isn't that crazy. I just wanted to make you smile."

Turning herself fully within the circle of his arm, she was on her knees facing him, "You wanted to make me smile?"

He nodded.

"I was so miserable. I just wanted to be over here. I didn't want to be back at Yale." Surprising him, she placed her hands on his cheeks, "And you wanted to make me smile?"

He nodded again.

And there it was, beautiful and elusive, and Zac could feel his emotions rising dangerously close to the surface. Liliana Castillo had a heart stopping smile and the only thing he could do was return it with one of his own. 

Author Julie A. Richman is a native New Yorker living deep in the heart of Texas. A creative writing major in college, reading and writing fiction has always been a passion. Julie began her corporate career in publishing in NYC and writing played a major role throughout her career as she created and wrote marketing, advertising, direct mail and fundraising materials for Fortune 500 corporations, advertising agencies and non-profit organizations. She is an award winning nature photographer plagued with insatiable wanderlust. Julie and her husband have one son and a white German Shepherd named Juneau.

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