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September 20, 2013

Braine Reviews: Right Now by Marie Hall

Series: Moments 2
Format: eGalley
Source: Author via NetGalley
Publisher: Self-published
Release Date: Setember 15, 2013
Genre: Contemporary - New Adult
Sometimes in life....

Things were supposed to get better when Ryan met Lili. I was supposed to move on, get a life... but I'm stuck and lost. Things with my father are not good. There are demons in our closet, big ones. Ones I want to kill him for, I'm seeing a shrink, I'm trying to get better... but my life feels out of control, like I'm a raft adrift on the sea. I don't know where to look, how to get anchored again, and then I meet Zoe Stone. Something about her draws me out of my rut, makes me laugh for real, smile, and for the first time in years I want to be more. But what will she think when she discovers who I really am?

...all we have...

When Alexander Donovan, aka The Golden Adonis, walks into my tattoo parlor, I know I'll do anything to make that man mine. There's an instant connection, a need to know more about him. Everything about him. But there's also a mystery surrounding the guy, when people look at him they only see the man that laughs, that cracks jokes and makes the world think that everything's okay, but I see the truth... I see the darkness that lurks so deep inside few would ever recognize it. I want to help him, I want to be with him, now I just have to make him trust me enough to let me in.

Is Right Now
She's 21, he's 23.
She's pierced and tattooed, he's vanilla. 
She's the Ice Queen, he's a man whore.
She has overachieving, overprotective parents, his are f*cked up.
Both wear masks to hide their pain. Both have baggage they tote around wherever they go. 

Interesting pair-up, don't you think so? I've read Marie Hall's fantasy series, Kingdom and loved her fairy tale retellings. However I have to say that she totally floored me with this NA-Contemporary series of hers, Moments, from the get-go. It's emotional without overly being dramatic, it's fun, honest and very swoony. RIGHT NOW, Alex Donovan and Zoe Stone's HEA was lovely and such a joy to read. 

Let me give you a little backstory of RIGHT NOW, book 2 of Moments series. This is one of those love stories that goes way back in high school where people are still so superficial and on a journey to finding themselves. I mean I don't think self-discovery ever ends but let's admit it, high school is the hardest path of the trail. Anyway, Alex, a senior, is already the heartthrob he is back in the day and Zoe, a sophomore, has a serious crush on the dude and like most stories like that, she remained invisible to him. Fast forward to the present, both are grown and Zoe has changed a lot which adds to the reason why Alex doesn't recognize her. Gone is the mousy, geek girl, hello sexy rockabilly chick! Alex for his part stayed more or less the same, still hot, still gorgeous, still a heartthrob. The difference is now he finally notices Zoe and she's got him by the balls the minute he walked in to her tattoo parlor. 

Cute, I know! But it's not all sunshine and rainbows for these two. I'll start with Zoe. Her parents are the type who's got sticks up their expensive a$$es. She's an only child and as she's half-Asian, she's got one of those tiger moms. What are tiger moms? Well they're the type who are so stringent with their compliments and on the rare instance they dole it out, it's limited to getting good grades, good behavior and the like. Tiger moms don't give outright compliments like you're pretty, you're so smart, a B average is OK. Tiger moms will drive you to overachiever status because "they want what's best for you". And that's a lot of pressure and Zoe being so spirited and headstrong, rebelled and just reinvented herself more out of spite than anything. Pierced, tattooed, works in a tattoo parlor, hangs out with people she knows her parents won't approve of. Still her family is pretty normal, they go to family lunches and dinners with the usual bickering here and there. In summary, I LOVE Zoe. She's my type of girl and I would so love her to be my BFF and even if her family is a little cray, I still choose them over Alex's.
But you can only lock things away for so long, eventually the closet gets too full and when it does, everything comes tumbling out.
Alex, this dude's broken and complex. Have you ever wondered what kinds of kids felons have? Well Alex is one example. His baggage is heavy and his boogey-man is still haunting him after all this time. I won't say what his shiz is but it's something that's not easy to compartmentalize. That said, I love the fact that Alex stayed a fighter. He didn't crumble over his guilt and the sins of his parents. He continued to fight and it does rear its ugly head once in a while but he pushes it back in the dark with all his might (did I just rhyme?). In short, Alex has big, strong shoulders to carry the weight of his world and he's still walking tall. Respect, brother!

I love the colorful contrast of Zoe and Alex's characters. Together they're one of the most adorable characters I've met and though Alex's got some deep and dark shiz going on for him, that darkness didn't mar the fluff, cuteness and lightness of RIGHT NOW. And I love that! I love and admire people who can handle their shiznit and still find ways to be happy, content and focus on the good and not dwell on the bad. MHall did a good job in terms of presenting the vulnerabilities and strengths of her characters. Even when Alex was unraveling, there's still a lot of dignity in his character which highlights his strength. RIGHT NOW and Moments series as a whole is a solid and classic New Adult Contemporary novel fans of the genre will LOVE.
Hated you for what you did. For robbing me of a childhood, for robbing Ryan, for leaving me without a dad and I hate you for that. Because I wanted you. I needed you. I loved you and you betrayed me. You. Hurt. Me.


Book 1, A Moment is currently FREE!


Marie loves books that make you think, or feel something. Preferably both. And while she's a total girly girl and loves glitter and rainbows, she's just as happy when she's writing about the dark underbelly of society. Well, if things like zombies, and vampires, and werewolves, and mermaids existed. (Although she has it on good authority that mermaids do in fact exist, because the internet told her so.)

She's married to the love of her life, a sexy beast of a caveman who likes to refer to himself as Big Hunk. She has two awesome kids, lives in Hawaii, loves cooking and occasionally has been known to crochet. She also really loves talking about herself in the third person.

Link up with Marie




Her eyes were roaming my body and my skin prickled under her hot gaze. I knew I wasn’t bad to look at—dusty blond hair with an athlete’s body and gunmetal silver eyes that girls always fawned over.

But looking at her and looking at me, we couldn’t be more opposite.

“Vanilla?” I asked.

Giving a very satisfied smirk, she hopped up on the counter and crossed her legs, showing off very feminine curves and the tiniest, most delicious pair of ankles I’d ever seen. A gold ankle bracelet jingled as she bounced her foot.

“Means you look like you took a wrong turn.” She gestured to the room, never taking her molten brown gaze off me.

My lips twitched and I leaned forward, resting an elbow beside her. Close enough that I felt her heat, close enough that her scent of jasmine tickled my nose, made me hungry and crazed. Damn, she was hot.

“Those kids looking at the wall look just like me.” I lifted a brow and she leaned in, so close her minty breath washed over my lips.

My entire body tensed up and I had to curl my fingers into the counter to stop myself from yanking her hot, little body against mine and having my way with her.

“Yeah, but you can spot the posers a mile away. The ones who would never do something like this when they’re totally sober. So…” she walked her finger across my collarbone, making my flesh shiver and heat flash down my spine, “what are you doing here, va-nil-la?”

The way she broke up the word, the way she eased closer into me, damn…I was coming apart. She hadn’t even really touched me and already this was the best foreplay I’d ever had in my life.

Turning on the charm, I smiled and eased my hips just a little closer. She wasn’t the only one able to play this game.

“I want you to draw on me.” I threw down the gauntlet, hell she could draw a grim reaper all down my back if she wanted, so long as her hands touched me, somehow, someway.

Shaking her head, the flower in her hair brushed against my forehead. “I’m not an artist, yet. I do body modification.”

I got hard as a rock. My gut got hot; my thighs shook a little, because I knew that almost everyone who did it also owned some metal on them somewhere.

Looking at her again I looked for the piercings. And sure enough, I was right. Her ear lobes were stretched. Not as big and gaudy as some I’d seen, just small little holes that were actually dainty looking on her.

Flicking hair across her shoulder, she grinned. “Sorry, vanilla, the rest you don’t get to see.”

I gulped, only able to imagine where she had them.

She laughed and I’m sure my eyes were as wide as saucers. Feeling like a prepubescent teen all over again, I wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans.

“What’s your name?” I asked, because I had to know. I wanted to know.
A secret smile danced across her face, brown eyes twinkled. “You mean you haven’t figured it out yet? I’m hurt, really I am.”

I frowned. “What are you—”

“Z,” the guy who’d been drawing the tat of the dragon and tiger, looked up with a hard fix to his square jaw. “He bothering you?”

Her smile still firmly in place, she shook her head. “Nah, I’m good.”

Dude looked pissed and suddenly I was too.

I don’t know why, but some caveman crap came over me and I narrowed my eyes right back at him. I didn’t care if he was the boyfriend or not, actually I did… because something about ‘Z’ (and I really had to find out her name quick) sparked a heat of fire inside of me I hadn’t felt ever.

“You dating?” I tried, but couldn’t keep the growl from my voice.

She hopped off the counter and my balls just about shriveled up, I didn’t want her to walk away. I wanted to talk to her, to… what… was I seriously wanting to talk to her?

Since when?

Z turned to go and I brushed her arm, desperate to keep her around.
“Look,” she glanced at my hand, which I dropped quickly, “we’re not dating anymore. Ryko’s a good guy, but he’s also slightly territorial.” She narrowed her eyes back at Ryko, who was still glowering at me. “He also happens to own the shop and doesn’t like to see me loafing. I’ve got work to do. It’s been nice, vanilla, but since you don’t have an appointment and we’re booked until closing, either make one for later or I’ll see you around.”

“Wait.”  I forked my fingers through my hair. “Pierce me.”

Her lips twitched. “What?”

Fuck me, what the hell was I doing? From a tattoo to a piercing? The universe had to be laughing at me.

“I want a piercing.”

She licked her upper teeth, and my heart clenched at the sight of her pink tongue. Were they pumping drugs through the ventilators here? My head was fuzzy and spinning and all I could smell was her jasmine and I know my pants were tenting and I could care less.

“I thought you said you wanted to be tatted?” Her eyes took on a knowing glint.

How many drunken losers hit on her every night?

Why did that thought make me want to punch one of them? I curled my fist.

“I don’t expect you to understand my reasons, Z,” I smirked when her eyes went slightly bedroom on me at the use of her nickname, “but I’m not leaving tonight without doing it.”

Planting her hands on her hips, she lifted her chin. “Fine. Far be it from me to kick out a paying customer. Even if he is stupid and is gonna regret it tomorrow morning.”

“I won’t.”

“We’ll see.” Hooking a finger, she turned around. “Follow me, frat boy.”

What the hell? Did I just scream frat, vanilla, loser to her or what? Somehow I didn’t think her nicknames were meant to be cute at all, but I wasn’t arguing.

Tipping my head at the guy standing next to me who was still ogling her ass, I sprinted around the counter and followed her into a private room with a black curtain in front of it.

The room was dark inside, with only a blue glow coming off the lamp in the corner. A body table lay pushed up against the wall.

“Get on,” she pointed.

Pulse thundering, nerves strung a little tight, I hopped up on the table.

Her movements were brisk and efficient as she walked to a medicine cabinet and pulled out a pair of latex gloves, snapping them on her hands a second later. Pushing her fingers together to get the gloves down properly, she lifted a brow at me. “So, what’ll it be?”

She was calling my bluff, because she knew as well as I did that I didn’t have a clue.

Why the hell had I decided to listen to a sheet of paper anyway?

I scrubbed my face. “What do you like?”

The way she nibbled on her lip, I had to take a deep breath and try to inconspicuously adjust my straining cock.

Walking toward me, she placed her hands on either side of my legs and I swear I was trembling like a freaking virgin. Even sitting, she still wasn’t taller than me, but it didn’t seem to faze her at all.

Her hair was in my face as her warm breath caressed the side of my ear.
“You really want to know?” she purred, voice throaty and decidedly wicked.

Was it possible to explode from just the sound of a voice? My heart was racing like a rabbit on crack. I licked my lips as her hand worked torturously, slowly up my thigh and then I squeaked—like squeaked squeak… like I want to die because that girly sound just came out of me kind of squeak—when she cupped my junk in her hands.

“I’ve always thought the Prince Albert was hot.” Then she nibbled the lobe of my ear and I couldn’t speak.

My entire body was quaking, trembling so hard I knew she saw it.

Then she pulled back and laughed and the sound was a brush of bells against my sensitive flesh. “But it’s totally up to you.”

It took two times of throat clearing before I trusted myself to speak. She’d touched me, touched me. Down there.

Fuck.

I was so turned on, if she kissed me, I would have come. That would have been it, mortifying… hell yeah, but I don’t think I would’ve cared because it would be worth it. My balls ached and I knew tonight was going to be a twofer, at least. Unless I could convince her to come home with me.

“Don’t think I’m ready for a cock piercing,” I finally managed to say.

She only smiled and I knew what she was thinking: Vanilla. It was written all over her face, but even I had my limits for this mysterious girl.

“Then what are you ready for?” Her tone was teasing, but carried an edge of steel beneath the velvet. She was testing me again and something in me didn’t like the thought that she found me as lacking and vanilla as she accused me of being.

“Nothing below here.” I flattened my palm above my belt.

She was back in my space again, filling my head with jasmine and the sound of her throaty voice.

Both palms flat on my stomach, she ran them up my abs, and then across my chest, before rubbing my nipples between her fingers.

I hissed, as the nerves danced and shot fire straight down to my already aching cock.

“Nipple piercing’s then?”

“Ungh…” I’m not even sure anything intelligible dropped from me, but I couldn’t think straight. All I wanted was to throw her down on this table, hike her skirt up and find that hidden piercing.

“But,” her nose moved up the line of my neck, “I’m not sure the girls could handle seeing that much eye candy at the lake.”

No response. Nothing, I just panted, gripped the edge of the table and tried to remember this wasn’t a sex parlor.

“There’s only one other piercing that really does it for me. Do you know what that is, Alex?”

I shook my head.

Fuckmefuckmefuckme… I was going to implode, I knew it.

Her thumb ran across my lower lip and I couldn’t help myself, I nibbled it. The taste of latex was disgusting, but I didn’t stop because I had to touch her.

“A lip ring.”

Her mouth was inches, inches from mine and I knew it would take nothing for me to lean in and take it, slip my tongue past her teeth and drown in her.

“Think you can handle that, vanilla?”

“Ungh…” There went that stupid crap out of my mouth again.

I was not prepared for how quickly she pulled back, how bereft my body felt without her heat crawling all over me, or how down to business she suddenly became. I was still panting, still sweating under my collar.

“Shit,” I grumbled, as she walked back to the medicine cabinet and started pulling out packets of instruments.

“Rethinking this already?” she asked as she worked with her back to me.
How could she act that way? Like she hadn’t just been about to make me come in my pants, how she’d made me pant and moan like a dog in heat.
Sick, slightly mortified, I breathed through the tension twisting my gut in knots.  She’d played me like I’d played so many others and being on the receiving end of it sucked ass.

Thankfully, by the time she got her stuff together I’d pulled my shit together too. She flipped on a switch by my head and flooded the room with bright lights.

She had a pair of what looked like baby tongs in her hand. “I’m going to pinch your lip with this.”

“Does it help numb it?”

Lips twitching again, I knew the second I asked that I sounded like an idiot.
“No, not really. It’s just for placement and so I can hold your mouth still.” Bending over, she opened my mouth, not nearly as sexy as what happened before because this time she was purely professional about it. “Okay, I like it right there. Now, when I tell you to breathe, take a deep breath. It’s not going to hurt, not really, just pinch a little. Vanilla, one last time, you sure you want to do this?” Her brown eyes were suddenly serious and intense, like she expected me to jump off and run away and the thought was like a bucket of ice water in my face.

I was a fucking man, whether she believed it or not. And just because a sheet of paper told me to be opposite didn’t mean I was going to turn into a baby about this afterwards.

I didn’t answer, just lifted a brow.

“Fine. Here we go.” Grabbing a long ass needle, she touched the tip to my lip. “One, two, breathe.”

I was just inhaling when she shoved it through. It did bring tears to my eyes, that couldn’t be helped, but I’d be damned if I let them fall.

“Okay, almost done.” Attaching a cork to the bottom of the needle, she then grabbed a small silver hoop and in the next breath the needle was out and the hoop was in. “Doing good?”

“I’m not gonna faint if that’s what you’re wondering,” I muttered, beginning to get edgy. She didn’t know me, didn’t know anything about me.

I wasn’t some punk ass frat boy with too much to drink and no sense of reality. So okay, maybe I’d had the stripper twins in a bathroom earlier, but that wasn’t really who I was.

Taking a pair of pliers, she twisted on the metal in my mouth until satisfied with it.

Then her full lips curled into a crescent moon and my heart started thumping again. Cranky or not I could still admit the girl was hot when she did that.

Handing me a hand held mirror she lifted a brow. “So what do you think?”

I thought it didn’t look as bad as I’d feared it might. It didn’t really alter my appearance by much, the ring wasn’t huge. But something inside me felt different, not like a sheet of paper tossed in the wind, but anchored again somehow.

“It’s good,” I mumbled, and hopped off.

Snapping her gloves off, she tossed them into the waste bin. “Good, fifty bucks, frat. Let’s go pay.”

I didn’t get to ask her for her number, and honestly after the stunt she pulled with me in there, I had no desire. Not to mention Billy bad ass kept eyeing me like a dog eyeing steak, and I knew it was time to head home.

Lying in bed, hands behind my back I stared at the ceiling and played with the metal in my mouth. It tasted weird, but I liked it. I liked what it symbolized, what it made me feel.

Somehow my thoughts drifted to Z. I wished I knew her name. No matter that she’d made me look like a pathetic boy toy back there, the girl had turned me on. My cock was still heavy, my balls aching.

Grabbing hold of myself, I hissed as the tremors immediately wracked my sensitive nerves. All I had to think about was the tats and hidden piercing and in two strokes I was coming so hard, it bowed my back off the bed.

Panting, I blinked and started to make my way to the bathroom to clean up when it suddenly dawned on me, she’d called me Alex.

I’d never given her my name.





21 comments:

  1. This book sounds yummy! I love a good New Adult novel. :)

    Sarah @ Kitties Like Books Too

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    1. I'm not a big NA reader but I so loved this one in particular.

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  2. Im gonna bust a beat for you sistah! Awesome review Braine. I have the first book so I need to get to reading. U & Melissa have me craving Marie's books.

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    1. The first one is heavy, good and real heavy. Bah!

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  3. Oh man, this sounds PERFECT for me! And better yet, I just realized I have Moments on my kindle. I will definitely be reading this series.
    Thanks for the great review, Braine!

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    1. Book 1 is heavy! Ok I hope you read it soon :)

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  4. Ooo this sounds well yummy! Wonderful review, adding it!

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  5. Braine, you're a poet and dont even know it! :P this one sounded interesting from the start, but damn that last quote. I want!! >.<

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    1. Get book 1 while its free! And thank you for thinking I'm a poet with one rhyme.

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  6. These sound like really great characters! I'm going to remember this one to pick up in the future, for sure!

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    1. Super rich characters, it's worth the read.

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  7. Hell yeah, that's an interesting pair up. I want this now!!!

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  8. I look forward to reading this one. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. Huh had no idea she has a NA series! I still need to read her kingdom series. I know, I know, I'm so far behind! I have em on the kindle though :) Glad this one worked for ya!

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    1. You can read the series simultaneously.

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  10. Great review! Great excerpt to wet the whistle :D Miss B is reading NA...woot!

    x

    Mich

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    1. Haha I know right?! I do love her NA series, I'm picky with the genre and this nailed it for me.

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  11. Wowza! Love that excerpt, Braine. And your review is awesome too! :) I picked up both these books when you did the spotlight on Marie Hall. Now I'm even more excited to read them! LOL Especially because you say the darkness doesn't detract from the light here in Right Now.

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