Saturday, May 10, 2014

Always At First (Not At First #2) by Phalla S Rios with Giveaway, Excerpt, Playlist & Review

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Angel Mabbot is the perfect daughter.

Perfection has always been an expectation set forth by her adoring father and her overbearing, neglectful mother. Knowing she can never live up to their standards, Angel falls into a life of partying, drinking and pills in an effort to dull the pain of her insecurities and perceived failures.

Kevin Hawken, a former business partner of Angel’s father, has always loved Angel, although she has no idea who he is. Angel's substance induced state of mind forces her to question what is real.
And Kevin is too good to be real.

Caught in the clutches of Roman Conti, a notorious and dangerous Mob boss from Italy, Angel slips under Roman’s control. A control she can't escape.

And the only man who can rescue her...

Is a man she believes existed only in her dreams.

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Releasing May 5, 2014

Roman leads me away from the helicopter and down the walkway to his estate. The moment of silence feels surreal as I await my fate. 
This is a horrible nightmare and I will wake up safely in Kevins arms.

But this is not a dream.

This is real.

The man who refuses to let me go removes his hand from my lower back and roughly turns me to face him.

“I will give you the life you crave my sweet angel, but you need to stop fighting me. Let go of him…he doesn’t have the means to give you your happily ever after like I do,” Roman murmurs as he steps closer to me. His hand grips the hem of my sweater, tugging me toward him.

I stand frigid, waiting for his next commanding move, but nothing happens. Tears spill down my cheeks, and my body tremors as I find the courage to speak. “I will never love you,” I whisper, turning away.

“Ah, you see, I don’t need love. I own you, Angel,” he growls as my name slips off his lips. He roughly cups my chin, forcing me to face him. “Love kills you. You live to find love, only to be cheated and left to die alone.” He kisses the tears on my cheeks away. “We will make this work.”

His dark gaze locks with mine, sending a shiver down my back, then he gently lifts my left hand, his thumb rubbing slowly up and down my ring finger. “You need something here…a reminder, perhaps,” he says evenly.

“A reminder?”

“Yes, baby, so you don’t forget who you belong to.” His lips tug into a sad smile.

“Who I belong to…” I repeat, my voice breaking.

“Yes…” he whispers. He glances slowly toward his house and frowns, then his jaw clenches tightly, and his lips press into a hard line before he turns back to me. “Our family is waiting for us. I need you to wipe away everything that happened today.”

I shake my head and let out a cold, hard laugh. “I will never forget what you did to Kevin.” Or what you are doing to that poor girl, locked away at your secret compound.

“That was nothing compared to what I can do…what I will do if you try to leave me again,” he warns, dangerously. His eyes shimmer thickly with sadness and dangerous rage.

I flinch and take a step back. “You have me. You own me. I’m yours to do whatever you want. Just leave Kevin alone.”

I just made a deal with the devil.

Always at First Blog Teaser

My Review: 4 1/2 stars
This book actually goes back a few months to before the end of Not At First, which if you haven't read - you need to before you read this one. I am glad that it went back only if to give us a glimpse of the hell that Angel had to endure while in Roman's clutches. Roman was such a controlling, egotistical prick, by the end of this book there was nothing that could make me feel badly for him. He screwed this up so badly all by himself. I don't feel sorry for him, not one little bit. 

Kevin, on the other hand I felt so badly for. Everything that he endured because he loved Angel. And it was a lot. I still don't understand why Angel's dad didn't want Kevin involved with Angel, why he was so dead set against it. Kevin loved Angel for a very long time before his re-appearance in her life. He knew what was going on with her, that's why he didn't push her. Because he well and truly loved her. This book goes back and forth from the present to the past and it gives us a greater understanding of not only Kevin, but of Angel as well. 

Angel went through hell, and was barely standing when both Kevin and Roman appeared in her life. I felt for her, which was a real switch because for half of the last book I couldn't stand her. I liked the way that this book ended, but would cheerfully love to kick Roman in his face. How he could use Angel like that and then toss her away after what he put her through, not knowing anything about her past and what he was doing to her just by being his possessive, controlling self. I felt more than anything that finally, there was at least a happy for now for Kevin and Angel. I'll have to be content with that because I don't know if there will be another book. I would love to see it, though. 

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Phalla S. Rios lives in California with her husband, a daughter and two goofy pit bulls. She loves to read and write while drinking her favorite tea, Joy, from Starbucks. During her spare time, she is usually at the movies or looking for the next best place to eat. She often refers to herself as a foodie. Her debut novel is Not at First. She is currently writing the sequel, Always at First.
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