Monday, June 23, 2014

**Review & Giveaway** REcovered by CJ Hartland


Seven years ago, I found myself, bruised and broken, standing at my grandmother's door, preparing the one and only lie I'd ever tell her. I couldn't tell her how I had truly come by those bruises. I couldn't tell her HE did it. I couldn't be that cliche. She took me in. Fixed me. Advised me. Now, I live in her house and run her coffee shop in the best place in the world, Balboa Island. This island, the locals... everything was predictable... right down to the weather, just the way I liked it - no surprises. When she passed, she left it all to me. 
It was my safe haven, my happy place.
Max came back. 


Aeleven o’clock, Drew was the only one left in the shop, scowling, tightening and relaxing his jaw when he got called away to deal with ... something.  When the door closed behind him, Max pulled me into the storage room and cornered me against the door.  “You’ve been teasing me all day.”  He ran his hands down my sides.  I slid my arms around his waist and felt his hard gun resting in his harness.
“I don’t think you’ll need that in here.”
He pulled my hands from his sides and held them against the wall as he brought his mouth to my ear, “I don’t know, what if someone misbehaves?”  He growled.
My heart thudded against my ribs.  “Not here, Max,”  I said, trying to sound firm but coming out sounding shaky.
“You’ve misbehaved all day, Lili.  Flirting with Drew, leading him on, when you know he doesn’t stand a chance with you.”  He pressed against me, keeping his mouth just far enough away from mine, making me yearn for his tongue to tangle with mine.
“I would never lead him on, he’s my friend,” I stuttered.
“Then you were trying to make me jealous.”  His lips started caressing my neck.  “It worked,” he whispered.  “But you shouldn’t play mind games with me, I warned you before...”  He pressed into me, tracing his lips along my jaw.
I started feeling courageous and decided to toy with him, the same way he was toying with me.  “Well, I wasn’t flirting,”  I whispered, reaching my lips to his, but not kissing. “I didn’t play any games with you,” I spoke against his mouth, my lips on his, as he remained still and hard ... everywhere, “And I wasn’t teasing you, so you can save for your talk for another day.”  I pulled my hands from his grasp and pushed him back, “Not here, Max!”  I said sharply.
I sidestepped him and opened the door when it slammed shut.  Max’s hand held it closed, I spun towards him to object, but before I could, his mouth was on me in an air sucking kiss.  He literally took my breath away then lifted me against the door, “Wrap your legs around me.”
“No, not here Max.”  My tone was firm as I pushed him back.  His erection was so hard I thought it might leave a bruise on my thigh.
“Wrap your legs around me Lili, now.”  He was very calm, but domineering.
“What happened to not making me doing anything I don’t want to?  You think just because you had me once, you can have me anytime you want?”  I used his same calm whispery volume.  I had to lay some rules and fast or this was going to turn bad, or amazing, not sure which one, fast!
He lowered me.  “First, I know you want me as much as I want you, your eyes give you away.  Second, I’ve had you many more times than once, that being said, I know I can have you anytime I want.”
I straightened my clothes and ducked under his arm, “Excuse me, I have work to do.”  I opened the door two inches before Max slammed it shut again.  I didn’t turn around, I didn’t have a chance.
Max leaned into my back, pushed my hair over my shoulder exposing the skin at the back of my neck and placed his lips right on the mark he loves.  “Remember that night on the bay?  The things you did ... the things you let me do to you ... ”  He suctioned my marked skin into his mouth, much harder than he had before.  I felt his teeth nip.
“Yes, I remember,” I breathed, resisting the urge to moan.  I leaned my forearms against the door, my forehead resting on its coolness.  
He opened his mouth and licked the now freed skin then turned me around, pulled his hands through my hair and my mouth to his mouth.  His demanding kiss controlled my movements, my tongue, my lips.  His strong hands chose the angle of my head.  “I want you, Lili.  You know how to stop me.”  He held me still, looking into my eyes.
His mouth came down, hard, on mine, I pulled back. “Stop,” I insisted.
Max, still holding my face, peered at me through dark blue eyes, when the smile that ruled me played on his lips.  He lifted me again against the door. “Wrap your legs around me,” he said.  I did.  His arrogance spread across his face while he buried it into my neck; sucking, kissing, nipping.  “I need to be inside you, Lili.”  My thundering heart slammed against my chest, begging to feel his fullness again while my brain knew this was wrong.  My heart versus my head.  Need versus want.  Should versus shouldn’t.  
“No. Max.”  I dropped my legs.
“Lili.  You’ve had a rough couple of days so,” he spoke softly,“I’m going to remind you once, Maxwell,  is the word you’re looking for, if you want me to stop, but I can tell you don’t.  I won’t remind you again.”
I pushed him back, “Stop.” Then I turned and opened the door.
Max’s hand slammed it shut, pushed my front to the door and whispered into my ear, “I can play, Lili, as long as you’d like.”
“Not here, Max.  I’ll fight you.”  Play?  Am I playing?  I’m not sure, I know I want him, but here?  I should just say Maxwell, but, will I regret it if he stops?
Max quickly pulled my pants and panties down around my ankles.  I heard his zipper and felt his body press against mine.  “You’ve been leading me on, then you tell me stop, when I know you want the same thing I want-” He had me trapped against the door, his entire body weight on me.  Would he stop if I said ...?  I didn’t even want to think the word, I didn’t want him to stop. 
“Don’t you want to feel something other than fear and worry?”  He breathed into my neck.
“Me too.  I just want to lose myself in you for a little while.  Is that so wrong?”  He tugged at my ear with his teeth.
“No,” I whispered.
“I think you’ve been playing games with me, Lili.  Have you?”  
“Yes, Max.”
“Consider it added to your misdemeanors.  Now, put your hands flat on the door and stay where I guide you.”  I opened my palms and set them flat on the door while Max pulled my hips back until I was bent over.  “Good girl, stay like that.  Lili, if I do something that you don’t like and you want me to stop, what are you going to say?”
Maxwell.”  I whispered. 
“Good girl.  This is for you’re teasing game.”
His hand slowly lined circles around my rear, my whole body tightened as I awaited his hand’s collision with the sensitive skin on my naked ass.  His hand and body pulled from mine and I couldn’t feel his touch, his breath or his heat.
Suddenly, the moisture of his tongue hit the back of my thigh and moved up my body and between my legs.  His tongue rapidly lapped at my wet center.  My body began to quicken as pleasure tingled through me.  If this is punishment I might play with him more often.  My panting grew shorter as his tongue picked up speed; my moans were loud and uncontrollable as my need neared.
I began pulsing, my body begged for release just as Max stopped.  “No,” I squealed.  “Max, don’t stop.”
He stood behind me, his hands over mine.  “What’s wrong?  You said, no to me.  You said stop.  Now that I have ... you don’t want me to?  Hmm.  How will I know if your no’s ever really mean no?”
He slipped his finger inside me bringing me and keeping me right on the edge of my orgasm.  “Please Max, let me come!”
“Let you come?  You want to come now?”  The roughness of his whispered voice ground into my senses.  
His thumb began circling my bud while his fingers pressed against me from the inside.  “Max, Yes.”  My head flew back as I began to tighten around his finger, grinding them deeper into me.
“Are you going to come, Sweetness?”
“Yes, Max.  Don’t stop!”
  He slowed his ministrations, taking me a step back from my edge.  I leaned against him searching for some kind of release, he remained unmoving.  “I can make you come, Lili.”
His fingers picked up again. “Please,”  I whispered.  
“But you have to do something for me, okay?”  His lips locked onto my skin.
“Anything Max, please do this for me.”
“I am, please.  Max.  Please don’t stop,” I breathed out over the sound of my pounding heart.
“No, Lili.  Not like that.  Try something else.  Really make me believe.”  I began tightening around his fingers again, as he slowed.
“Max!  Fuck!  Please.  Let me come!  I can’t do this.”
“Getting better, Lil.  How’s this?”  He brought his mouth to my pulsating need and began licking the length of my pussy; back to front.
“God, Max.  I need you.  Fuck me,” I whimpered.  “Please fuck me, Max.”  
His pants dropped and he dove into me so hard I came instantly.  Screaming his name, he thrust deeply, as I heard the bell jungle above the door in the coffee shop.  I started to push him away to right myself, Max held fast, his fingers squeezed my hips as he sped his thrusts, drawing another body quaking orgasm from me as he came deep inside me panting my name into my ear.
I felt my skin grow red with embarrassment.  My head lolled down, I stood there leaning against the door unmoving.  “We’ve been caught.”  I whispered.  “It’s going to be all over the island, Max.”
Max slowly pulled my pants up then guided my hips to the chair to sit.  “I’ll take care of this, nobody knows anything.  You said you trusted me to protect you from pain and humiliation.  Trust me, Lili.”  He straightened his clothes and washed his hands, “Stay in here, I’ll handle this.”  
I sat with my head in my hands as I heard the door close behind Max.  What is he doing to me?  This is not normal behavior for me, at all ... ever.  Each time he touches me, I become some animal controlled by hormones and instinct.  I have to stop this.  Or is this the way it’s supposed to be?  Maybe we’re meant for each other and this is normal.  
I felt Max’s hand on my shoulder.  “You can come out, nobody’s here, but there was and they left us something.  I’ve called Rite,” remorse rippled in his voice.


It's No Good by Depeche Mode
Only When I Lose Myself by Depeche Mode
Lover, You Should've Come Over by Jeff Buckley 
Everybody Here Wants You by Jeff Buckley
Feelin' Good by Nina Simone 
Ava Adore by Smashing Pumpkins 
Possum Kingdom by The Toadies 
So He Won't Break by The Black Keys
Tighten Up by The Black Keys
Psychotic Girl by The Black Keys
Times Like These by Jack Johnson



REcovered was my first book my CJ Hartland and going into the book I wasn't sure what to expect, (the blurb left you curious about what you were actually getting involved in) it turns out to be a much more layered story than I was expecting!  REcovered tells the story of Lilliana and how she is moving on with her life after a traumatic experience in her past and what happens when her past comes back into her life.

I really enjoyed getting to know Lilli and Max, I enjoyed their chemistry, banter and interactions (and the heat!).  CJ Hartland created a wonderful community on Balboa Island and really made the reader get immersed in the setting.  This story had a lot of layers to it and at times it was hard to keep track of all the pieces.  While this story starts out in one direction it does take a rather abrupt turn in the last few chapters that left me scratching my head.  Up until the end the pacing was just right and then everything ended up exploding at once and adding new twists that you are not expecting.  Finishing REcovered I am left with a LOT of questions and wondering if it all will all be ironed out in the next installment of this series (yep, there is a book 2).

CJ Hartland created an interesting story that is multi-layered with mystery, heat and romance.  I loved watching the romance take place in the crazy that surrounded Max and Lilli and I will be curious how this all will come together in REkindled. 



CJ Hartland - Then

CJ was an elementary school teacher in the big, bad city of Los Angeles.  She spent her days teaching first graders subtraction and going over the weekly spelling words, among other subjects.  Although CJ loved her job of molding future minds, she couldn't see herself doing it for much longer.  She finally decided to leave her teaching career behind her and start a new adventure. An adventure that had always been her passion, writing.
After leaving teaching behind, CJ reconnected with her oldest friend and, together, they began writing their first script, a sitcom.  It had fallen into the hands of a director that took it upon himself to help these two budding writers on their way.  After pitching it around for a year, the three decided to shelf the sitcom and work on other projects.  
CJ knew she wanted to continue to write, so she sought advice from a place that had always helped her see her true path, Balboa Island, the setting for the Lilianna Marshal Series.  CJ sat on the seawall that encircled the island as the entire plot for her debut book, REcovered, began to unfold before her.

CJ Hartland - Now
Rave reviews for REcovered have further inspired CJ to continue the series with book two, REkindled, coming soon.  She has been fitting writing into her nightly routine, after her, pride & joy, baby boy and love of her life, husband go to bed


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