Daily Archives: 11/10/2015

BLOG TOUR ~ Upper Hand (Cedar Tree #5) by Freya Barker

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Book: Upper Hand
Series: Cedar Tree #5
Author: Freya Barker

Cover Designed: Margreet Asselbergs
Model: Alfie Gordillo
Photographer: Reggie Deanching of R+M Photography
Hosted By: Francessca’s Romance Reviews

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More often than not, Clint Mason has his foot firmly wedged in his mouth, which tends to get him in plenty of hot water with the ladies. Although his laid back good ole’ Southern charm does not fly far with the female population of Cedar Tree, the big burly contractor hides his dark side well.

The only one Beth Franklin allows herself to rely on is Beth, and so far that has served her well. Just when her son disappears after dropping his little guy off on her doorstep, her life seems to spiral out of control. For the first time ever, fearing for his safety, the fiercely independent waitress is forced to be on the receiving end of a helping hand. That’s not easy for her, especially since the shovel-sized hand belongs to a man whose approach has run hot and cold the last year, leaving her feeling off balance. With a steady and commanding force, he exposes her softer side, while doing everything he can to keep her and those close to her safe.

**Due to some content of a sexually explicit nature, this book is recommended for a mature audience only.**

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Video Excerpt:


EXCERPT for reading:

“A gentleman would’ve offered to do that for you, but when you bend over with that fine ass on display, I suddenly don’t feel so gentlemanly anymore.”
His breath tickles my ear and my body freezes in the spot. Mortification and arousal do battle for supremacy while I struggle for a smart come back. All I manage is an illiterate grunt, before slipping around the trunk of the car, keeping my head down to hide the telltale blush. His low chuckle follows me all the way into the driver’s seat, and that’s where my indignant self comes alive.
“What’s with you?” I blurt out the minute his fine ass hits the seat beside me. “For days, no, make that weeks since you’ve woken up, you’ve been mostly a grumpy ass. And now suddenly you’re going all sexy and shit. The hot and cold routine is giving me hot flashes,” I mumbled the last, but apparently he hears because the car fills with the best sound I’ve heard in months—Clint throwing his head back and laughing without restrictions. I can’t help but look over and take in the strong column of his throat and the strong white teeth showing between his lips. Fuck, those lips.
“Sexy and shit?” I lift my eyes from his mouth and find him looking at me with one eyebrow raised in question.
“Seriously? That’s what sticks from all I said?”
“Well, no. The hot flashes made an impression too.” He winks. He bloody winks.

Teaser 2


Video Excerpt 2:

EXCERPT 2 for reading:

I watch her puttering around the kitchen wondering whether I should call her on the strange mood she’s been in since she got home. It’s not even nine-thirty yet, by all accounts early for a Saturday night and what better way to spend it than try and make some headway with this stubborn woman.
“You okay, Beth? You’ve been a bit off since you got home from the diner, is it that time of the month?”
With a clatter the spoon she was holding to scoop coffee grinds drops to the counter and I realize in that moment I probably just fucked up again.
“Say what?”
Damn that woman can look angry.
“I just meant that you seemed a bit off, like you weren’t feeling well or something.” I struggle to recover but once unleashed, there is no escaping the wrath of Beth.
“I’m off and so being a woman it must be my time of the month? Un-fucking-believable! You are such a Neanderthal, Clint. What do you call it when a guy is ‘off’, huh? Oh wait, that’s right, men stronger than that, right? Not bothered by ‘little’ things that would affect only us ‘fragile’ women?” The sarcasm is dripping off and before I have a chance to throw up a defense, she’s back in action, the coffee spoon clutched in her hand, waving around like a weapon. “For your information, buster, I haven’t had a period since the doctor removed my chicken coop twelve years ago!”
I swear I try to follow what she’s saying and I think I’m doing okay until she brings up a chicken coop. Confused I shake my head and repeat it back to her.
“Chicken coop?”
For a minute I think the dramatic eye roll is all I’ll get for an answer, when in reality she’s just gathering steam. Fucked up as it may be, it makes me harder than steel to see her all riled up. My cock is straining behind my zipper to the point of serious self-mutilation.
“Oh. Em. Gee. Yes Clint. Chicken coop. The works. The baby factory. I had a hysterectomy, you baboon!”
Okay, sue me, but all I can think right now is the promise of sliding into her without the barrier of a condom between us. Fuck yeah.

Teaser 3(1)


EXCERPT 3 for reading:

Her hands on her rounded hips in challenge, she stirs the darker side of me. A challenge like that is not wasted on me and before she can blink I am on her. My arms pull her tight into my body, one hand sliding down to clasp that luscious ass and the other one tugging at the damn elastic band in her hair so I can weave my finger through.
Eyes wide and mouth opening in what I assume to be protest, I take away that option forcing her to swallow her words when I slam my mouth down on hers. Hands that were braced against my chest in rejection, slowly curl to find purchase in my shirt as my mouth eats at hers in a dance for the upper hand.
I win.
Her whimper along with the moulding of her body to mine shows me that underneath that bristly fierce creature lives a woman who craves giving up control. Who despite the tight reigns she keeps on her life and everyone in it, secretly wants to let go. The knowledge that I’m able to bring that out in her makes my chest swell with emotion. Fuck yeah.
With Beth wedged between my body and the counter I hold her head in place with my hand tangled in her hair, while the other hand goes exploring. Over her soft hips to the dip of her waist, skimming the slight swell of her stomach I can feel her suck in, to the weight of her breast overflowing my palm. I pull back slightly, leaving my lips barely touching hers and will her eyes to open to mine. I need to see her reaction as I use thumb and forefinger to sharply pinch and tug on her nipple poking through the lace of her bra. The sharp hiss and instant darkening of her chocolate brown eyes tells me enough.
“Bed,” I mumble against her mouth. “I need my mouth on you in the worst possible way and I’ll end up on my face if we don’t get horizontal right fucking now.”

Teaser 6


You’ve heard how “things get better with age” like a good wine or a single malt (my favourite!!) well, personally I think this wee phrase so applies to the Cedar Tree series – in both the books and the characters!!!

Upper Hand is Clint and Beth’s story and what a wee corker it is!!! (back to booze again!!)

When we were first introduced to Clint I thought he was just gonna be a nice guy with a hellish case of constant foot in mouth but I was fairly off base with that assumption… Sure, he did have a habit of saying what sprang to mind without considering how it sounded or was likely to be construed but it was usually with good intentions and no malice. He’s really a sweetheart (in is own ‘foot in gob’ fashion) who supports Beth through everything thrown at her – his relationship with her grandson was fab and brought out another side of him. Freya had me laughing often with his comments and thoughts, his character is really quite funny!

….and so to Beth. Now here’s the thing…. Beth isn’t up there as one of my favourite Cedar Tree gals – I wasn’t totally enamored with her but she did grow on me as the book progressed and I got to understand why she often acted the way she did at times …
I just felt she was too hard on Clint, she blew a tad too hot and cold at points for me – don’t get me wrong yeah, she had a helluva lot going on and had had a hard time in her past but occasionally I found myself thinking “hell woman, the guy cares for you and is doing his best, cut him some slack why don’t you” and I hate to admit that I did think Clint should have cut his losses and given up on her when it looked like he’d finally had enough of her pissiness and attitude… but in the end I was glad he hadn’t throw the towel in!

As ever with the series, the story was gripping, packed with mystery, action and intrigue and the heat level was once again turned up to full blast – damn, Clint & Beth were hot in the bedroom!
One of my favourite things about Freya’s books is that the characters aren’t all successful, wealthy, smokin’ hot, perfect young things – I like that they’ve got issues, hangups, history and life experience. In Upper Hand we got caught up with the Cedar Tree gang and got to see them in action, doing what they do best – I love how they are there for each other and nothing is ever too much trouble, they are a real family (even though it is one of choice and not blood). We met Jed, Clint’s brother and found out why their relationship was as bad as it was – that was something I wasn’t entirely expecting, thought I had kinda guessed part of the reason…

All in all, even though our main lady didn’t completely win me over, I loved Upper Hand and it was a great addition to the series. I can’t wait to read Malachi’s book and find out just who his love interest is going to be!!

Upper Hand gets a solid 4.5* from me. xx

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What Others Are Saying:

I just took a wonderful trip back to Cedar Tree. Freya Barker is a brilliant, creative, and freaking amazing writer. I love her stories. I love her characters. She delivers another great addition to the series. ~ Goodreads Review

This is my second Freya Barker book and I loved it! Her writing style is so down to earth and it’s a refreshing change from all the fluffy stories I come across. Her characters are just people, not glamour dolls. ~ Goodreads Review

The suspense plot line is well thought out and paced. Love this series and am anxious to read more from this author. ~ Goodreads Review

I love the excellent mix of romance, humor, and mystery that is woven through the book. A page turner from beginning to end. Definitely recommend! ~ Goodreads Review


About The Author

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Freya Barker craved reading about ‘real’ people, those who are perhaps less than perfect, but just as deserving of romance, hot monkey sex and some thrills and chills in their lives – So she decided to write about them. Always creative, from an early age on she danced and sang, doodled, created, cooked, baked, quilted and crafted. Her latest creative outlets were influenced by an ever-present love for reading. First through blogging, then cover art and design, and finally writing. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she packed her two toddlers, and eight suitcases filled with toys to move to Canada. No stranger to new beginnings, she thrives on them. With the kids grown and out in the world, Freya is at the ‘prime’ of her life. The body might be a bit ramshackle, but the spirit is high and as adventurous as ever. Something you may see reflected here and there in some of her heroines…. none of who will likely be wilting flowers.

Stalker Links:

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email: freyabarker.writes@gmail.com

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Other Books

CEDAR TREE Sales Links:

Slim To None (#1)

Universal Amazon

Hundred To One (#2)
Universal Amazon

Against Me (#3)

Universal Amazon

Clean Lines (#4)

Universal Amazon

Also by Freya Barker:

”FROM DUST”A Standalone Dark Emotional Romance Novel

Universal Amazon
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RELEASE TOUR ~ Cole for Christmas by Kelly Collins

AUTHOR: Kelly Collins

GENRE: Steamy romance with an 18+ warning



When Interior Designer Chloe Craig imagined Christmas, her mind overflowed with boisterous family gatherings, trees trimmed in twinkling lights, and doorways adorned with mistletoe. Using her infectious joy, she was determined to soften the heart of her new employer, Mr. Cole, and to bring warmth and cheer to his cold Aspen home. 
New to Aspen, Chloe was resolute to start fresh, shaking off a past relationship betrayal. She saw the Cole assignment as her ticket to establish herself professionally, and despite the magnetic lure of Mr. Tall, Dark, and Delicious, she knew to keep her distance. 
For real estate mogul, Elias Cole, a broken heart had vetoed celebrating Christmas for years. More Scrooge than Kris Kringle, he was desperate for help so he hired Chloe Craig to bring the once-loved Christmas joy to his home. 
But when his personal life fell apart, he needed more than a decorator. He needed a miracle, and her name was Chloe. 

Sometimes desire is simply too irresistible to give into, and attraction too hard to ignore. While some girls get presents for Christmas, others get Cole. Could a little Cole for Christmas be Chloe’s wish come true?



What’s not to love about you? You’re hella-sexy, and you’re successful. You obviously take your family commitments seriously, and you have a great . . .” I almost said ass, but I thought better of it. “Personality.”
“I’m hella what?”
I lowered my head in embarrassment. Maybe I should have just blurted the ass part out. Honestly, it was true, and now I had to confess the sexy part, why not get it all out. But I didn’t. I whispered, “sexy.”
When I looked up to see his wide grin, he reached for my hand and squeezed it, and my heart, at the same time.
“We are going to have a wonderful holiday, Chloe Lou Who. You are my Christmas angel.”
We pulled into the airport parking lot. Elias ran around the SUV and helped me out into the frigid winter air. Instead of pulling me toward the terminal, he pulled the collar of my jacket up around my ears and leaned down and kissed me square on the lips. Something about the kiss was so sweet and earnest. Many women had let Elias down around the holidays. I wouldn’t be one of them.





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Kelly Collins writes with the intention of keeping the love alive.

Always a romantic, she is inspired by real time events mixed with a dose of fiction. She encourages her readers to reach the happily ever after but bask in the afterglow of the perfectly imperfect love.

Kelly lives in Colorado with her husband of twenty-five years. She loves hockey, shiny objects and has a new found appreciation for green smoothies.

Kelly has a landing page that hosts all her books.





RELEASE BLITZ ~ I’d Rather Be A Witch by Erin Hayes

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Jordyn wasn’t careful with what she wished for.

After making a reckless choice that destroyed her life and the life of her high school sweetheart, Jordyn fled her small town to be a professional mermaid. Being around water suppresses her earth-based magic, something she desperately needs.

Yet Jordyn can’t suppress who she really is – a witch.

When she learns that her mother is dying of cancer, she returns home. But it isn’t until people end up dead and everyone points fingers that she realizes her past is coming back to haunt her. Because her ex-boyfriend Zach has been waiting for her. And he hasn’t forgotten how she brought him back to life that night three years ago.

Jordyn will finally have to embrace being a witch to learn the truth. And it will change her life forever.

** I’d Rather be a Witch is a tie-in with How to be a Mermaid. It uses some of the same characters and can be read as a standalone or a complement to it. **


the series

How To Be A Mermaid




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About the author

Sci-fi junkie, video game nerd, and wannabe manga artist Erin Hayes writes a lot of things. Sometimes she writes books, like the fantasy mystery novel Death is but a Dream, the sci-fi middle grade book Jacob Smith is Incredibly Average, and the Her Wolf paranormal series.

She works as an advertising copywriter during the day, and she moonlights as an author. She has lived in New Zealand, Texas, and now in Birmingham, Alabama with her husband, cat, and a growing collection of geek paraphernalia.

You can reach her at erinhayesbooks@gmail.com and she’ll be happy to chat. Especially if you want to debate Star Wars.

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