Wednesday, August 28, 2013

BLOG TOUR: Taming Cross (Love Inc #2) by Ella James ARC REVIEW + EXCERPT & GIVEAWAY

Title/Series: Taming Cross | Love Inc #2
Author: Ella James
Publisher: Barkley's Books
Published: August 20th 2013
Format: eBook | Pages: 236
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: ARC Provided for blog tour
★★★★ (4/5) Stars!

For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

My Review:

I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

So I read Selling Scarlett the other day while I was waiting for my Taming Cross ARC to arrive, to sort of get myself ready to jump into it when I finally got it in my Kindle. And while I enjoyed it...enough. I wasn't about to do cartwheels and go fangirl crazy over it. Most of the characters just weren't that likable. To me. But one thing I knew for sure was, even as brief as his appearances were in Selling Scarlett, I adored Cross. So I was torn between excitement and worry. I really wanted more Cross. I wanted to know more about him. Though the first book nearly fell flat for me, so what did that mean for Taming Cross? Was there any hope? I would have to say most definitely yes!

Taming Cross is told in the dual POVs of Cross and Merri. Which was a pleasant surprise because I thought I knew what was going to happen with Cross from the last bit of Selling Scarlett, I think it's part of what had made me a bit nervous to read this. It seemed like Suri, one of his best friends, might be the love interest and, to be perfectly honest, I didn't really like or connect with her very well and I wanted something different for Cross. Thankfully I got that.

I was already intrigued with Cross when I started this one, but while reading it and getting to know his character deeper, he absolutely stole my heart and made me really feel for him. He's such a broken guy. In both his body from his wreck and in his soul from his past and family life. You honestly cannot read this book and not fall in love with him. He's at a very low point in the beginning. He can't do the job that he loves, the girl he had developed feelings for, one of his best friends, is engaged to someone he doesn't like, the other best friend has developed feelings for him that he doesn't return and his parents are complete assholes who didn't even go see him in the hospital for the couple months he was in a coma because what was the point? Nice right? Yeah, if there was ever I time I wanted to reach into a book and strangle someone I would be adding them to my list!

I loved getting to know Merri as well. She's nothing like I expected her to be. We know very little about her from Selling Scarlett. Mostly the fact that she was one of the first missing escorts who was sold as a sex slave down in Mexico to a druglord. She was targeted for specific reasons that, in a way, connect to Cross. Merri was so sweet and strong and positive. She had a lot going for her and got involved with the wrong guy in college and it was one of those little mistakes that set off a chain of bad choices that landed her in Mexico. It wasn't like she was a horrible person she just put her trust in all the wrong people.

When Cross makes the decision to go down to Mexico to find and rescue Merri, that's when everything gets crazy. I was on the edge of my seat, anxiously turning page after page while these two fought their way to freedom and into each other's hearts. It was dangerous and exciting and heartbreaking all at the same time. I can't really say much else without spoiling things. Definitely the best addition to the Love Inc series and everything I'd expect from Ella James. I highly recommend you meet Cross and Merri.


I pull away from him, and I can feel myself blushing. There should be another word for this.  One that more resembles burning. 

With my hands dangling at my sides where they belong, I glance up at him, feeling like the old-school, mid-20th Century definition of the histrionic woman.

I mean, it's not like we're good friends or anything. What logical reason do I have to be this worked up over Evan's quality of life?

I get the nerve to peek at him, and I confirm I'm right: He looks edgy. Uncomfortable. Like I've crossed a line.

He shifts his feet, like he wants to step away, but instead of doing that, he looks into my eyes for a few long seconds. The depth of his stare actually makes me shiver; I get the feeling he's trying to find something there. I'm doing the same thing, but whatever I see in the depths of his blue eyes feels nameless.

A second later, he thumbs a tear off my cheek, his perfect lips pressing together in a sad, resigned kind of look. “Don't cry for me, Meredith. I'm doing fine.”

I nod, feeling a glow all over my body because I'm standing so close to him.

I want to touch him. For this reason, I make myself take a small step back, tilting my head up more to meet his eyes. “I'm sorry for going all emo on you.”

The grave look on his face slips, and for a second I see something else—something vulnerable in his beautiful features. It's gone the next second, replaced by something stoic and untouchable.

I back away a little more and he lifts his hand, like he wants to touch me. Instead he just holds it there, palm out: the classic symbol meaning ‘stop’.

That's what you should do, dummy. Just stop this. You're living in a fantasy.

Evan seems to be searching for something to say. His eyes, on me, burn. I swallow and he tilts his head a little, looking unhappily perplexed. “I didn't deserve what you did for me, but I appreciate it.” He looks me over, head to toe. “You're a good person, Meredith Kinsey.”

Before I can respond, he lowers his hand and turns to go back to the table. He glances at me over his shoulder as he moves, and when he sits down, he bites into a piece of sausage. I move back behind the island and force myself to be calm, the way I would be if one of my children got hurt and I didn't want to alarm them. I force my mannerisms to remain gentle and unhurried as I eat my own breakfast, but internally, I'm going a million miles an hour.

I feel mortified. Desperate. Hungry. The feeling is familiar, and from long ago: It reminds me of the way I felt about Sam, the assistant band director. My first full-on crush.

I pour myself a glass of water and sigh, because how typical is that? Will I always be the blushing girl with the inappropriate crush?

Well, I guess I’m not blushing anymore, that’s for sure, but this guy is very much off limits.

Not because of all the many obvious things, but because of my secret. The one he doesn't know—and I won't tell him. The one that’s the likeliest of all my baggage to reach across time and distance and end me.

What I should tell him is that I'm not the kind of person he thinks. I probably never was, but I'm definitely not now.

About the author:

I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult eBooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook at Questions or comments? Tweet me at author_ellaj or e-mail me at

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  1. I'm starting to really like books told from two points of view.

  2. Thanks so much for the thoughtful review and for being part of my tour!!! :)

  3. Great review !

  4. Great review! I'm looking forward to reading it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. what a great review!!! this is sooo awesome! keeping all my fingers toes arms and EVERYTHING CROSSED!!! teehee

  6. Thanks for introducing me to a new author.

  7. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. Awesome Giveaway thanks :)
    I'm doing the same as you, reading Selling Scarlet before Taming Cross, just so I've got some background knwowledge before I dive in!

    Loved your review, and it makes me want to read more :)


  9. This looks awesome, I have bought it waiting to read it. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. The book was awesome I couldn't put it down! Love Ella James she is my favorite!

  11. The book was awesome I couldn't put it down! Love Ella James she is my favorite!

  12. Great review! Can't wait for more of the blog tour! :-)

  13. Awesome tour so far!

  14. Can`t wait to read this !
    Going to read the first soon. : )

  15. Love the review!

  16. I really enjoyed both books in the series so far and am looking forward to learning more about Marchant and Suri.

  17. Great tour!