Wednesday, August 16, 2017

"Seven Days with You" by Hugo Driscoll

Seven Days with You
by Hugo Driscoll

Seven Days with You by Hugo Driscoll

Seven Days with You by Hugo Driscoll is currently on tour with YA Bound Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Sean Johnson’s life as a small-town farmhand has been nothing but predictable, but when he meets Sophia Hillingdon at the local animal sanctuary, she gets him out of an eighteen-year rut, away from the mundane existence on the farm, and a grieving, drunken father.
Sophia is the first person who understands him and makes him believe that he might get out of their small town, who tells him, he has the potential to be whoever he wants to be and do whatever he wants to do.
But as their relationship unfolds, it is the most devastating of news that will change both of them forever.

I turned around and rushed over to a girl who couldn’t have been any older than myself. “Stop,” I shouted, “she’ll hurt you.” But then it dawned on me who it was. She was Mr. Hillingdon’s daughter. I hadn’t seen her in years, and I wasn’t sure if she lived in Boxford anymore.
“What was that for?” she asked calmly. “I was only trying to stroke her.”
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean for it to come out like that. It's…”
“It’s what?” she said. “A problem that you’ve never spoken to a girl before?”
“Hey! What was that for?”
“For being so rude!”
“I was only trying to… I don’t know, help you from getting a huge beating from her. She’s dangerous. It took me a while to calm her down.”
“She’s called Violet.”
“No, she isn’t.”
“She is now,” she said.
“You’ve never even stroked the-“
“You mean I’ve never done what I’m doing now?” She patted the horse's head between its bright coloured eyes. “I think someone owes me an apology.”
My chest tightened. “I don’t understand... that doesn’t... I didn’t even see you; it doesn’t-“
“Doesn’t what… make sense?”
“You have a tendency to finish my sentences, don’t you?”
“Well, someone has to.”
It was the first time I’d spoken to her, and though she ripped me to pieces, I couldn’t help but want her to continue. It sounded harsh, but she wasn’t being mean; if anything the way she spoke only endeared me to her more. She was standing up for herself, and God was she capable. So, I smiled before moving closer to her, realising for the first time that the girl that stood in front of me was a girl I couldn’t take my eyes off.
“Even if you are making fun of me, I want to apologise; I didn’t realise how loud I was shouting, I was only doing it to protect-”
“It’s fine, just promise me you won’t kick yourself at night for making such a bad impression?”
“I’ll try my hardest not to,” I said, with a pained laugh. “I’m Sean by the way. Sean Johnson.”
She replied with an unashamed laughter. “I know who you are, Sean. Farmers of a shy disposition towards the opposite sex are quite identifiable.”
“I know who you are too. I mean I remember you volunteering here as a kid and all. I just haven’t seen you in a while. I was only trying to be polite.”
“Well, in that case, it’s lovely to meet you.”
I stood there for some time after, long enough to make the scene awkward. I couldn’t help it for I was unable to talk, only admire and appreciate her.
“You don’t say much, do you?”
“Only when I have to,” I replied. “I suppose that’s what makes me love animals so much.”
“I suppose that makes two of us.”
I smiled, then, trying my hardest to usher the appropriate words, I said, “How about I walk you home? You know, for making up for being so rude earlier? How about it?”
She crossed her arms, leant back slightly then winked. “Maybe you can speak to the opposite sex after all.”
“So is that a yes?”
“Is what a yes?”
“Do you want me to walk you home?”
“If you mean do you want me to say yes to you wanting to walk me home, then yes, I can’t see why it would hurt.”
Sophia Hillingdon was a catch, and I was somehow lucky enough to have been in the right place at the right time. Even Mr. Rogers could tell by the ever-growing dimples on my face how I felt, and as he hurried us out of the sanctuary, he returned my wave with a cheeky wink. She was beautiful, even in a mucky, smelly old place such as the sanctuary, and though my previous experience with girls wasn’t great, I knew at that moment that a girl I hadn’t seen in years was the prettiest girl I’d ever seen. But then I suppose many men would say the same, what with her sparkling eyes and strawberry blond hair. She was practically lit up, almost like a Christmas tree. And then there was her defiant chin and the steep incline of her cheekbones which made for such an intoxicating formula that I soon found looking at her face strangely difficult. Even her navy coloured jumper and rubber green boots tucked into her mud strewed jeans made her stand out. An ordinary and practical outfit one would presume. But when worn by Sophia, ordinary colours became extraordinary colours. What was a girl like that still doing in this sleepy town? Paris seemed more suitable- a melee of artists, writers, and uncontainable beauty. Boxford seemed entirely unsuitable.
Sophia lived on the other side of Boxford, and as we walked through Hill Farm and its orchard, we soon found ourselves walking by the River Box. The river complemented the sunset as it hung from the lambent sky. For some time, there was only the sound of the water making its way downstream, occasionally making moderate splashing noises against the odd rock. And though we were silent, it began feeling less awkward, and it wasn’t long before I found myself asking Sophia a million and one questions.
“What makes you care for animals so much?”
“I suppose I like that they see you for what you are, and not who you are if that makes any sense? And seeing those injured creatures, who bleed as we do and who breathe the same air as us… well, they should be taken care of, I don’t want to be that person who doesn’t care.”
Sophia spoke gently, and with compassion and understanding- something I’d never come across before. “So you believe animals have an ability to see us as humans and that, um-“
“Yes, you got it right the first time.” Her sweet laughter sent tingles through my body.
“That would explain a lot.”
“What do you mean?”
“The fact that animals don’t judge you, and where you’re from and who you are, I suppose I relate to that, just in a different way.”
“You’re saying I’m filthy rich, aren’t you?”
“I never said filthy.”
Again, she laughed. “Any other interests?”
“Music… jazz actually, I get it from my old man, been playing Sinatra ever since I was a kid.”
“You reckon you can sing me a song of his?” 
“Maybe one day.”
“One day? Who says there’s going to be another day?”
I looked at her puzzled, unsure if she was playing a cruel joke on me.
“I’m kidding.”
I sighed in relief. “You’re a terrible actress anyway.” She was pretty good actually. “And you? Besides horses and teasing farm boys.”
“Books. A good book and an adventure. I want to be someone who does everything, reads every book and travels to far out places in corners of the world where they haven’t even electricity or running water. We’re so small in comparison to.” She paused then pointed ahead. “To what’s out there, outside of this town, this country.” She looked my way, pausing for a moment before she placed her hand on my shoulder. “You seem lost already from my waffling.”
“No. I’m the same. I’ve always wanted to see more than this little town of ours. I’ve just never heard someone talk like that before. It feels like I’m on an adventure myself, you know?”
She giggled softly. “That’s awfully kind of you to refer to me as an adventure. I suppose this town isn’t half as boring as I thought.”
“It isn’t tonight.”
She glanced my way and flushed. “Anyway,” she started, “I want to know your story, who you are, where you come from, enlighten me.”
Now it was my turn to laugh at her choice of words. “I wouldn’t say I’m an enlightening person.”
“Well, that was bloody fascinating if I do say so myself.”
“What was?”
My confusion made her smile; I’d never seen a smile stretch as far as Sophia’s had.
“Never mind,” she continued, releasing a loud snicker. “Any brothers or sisters?”
“None, just been the old man and me since I was five.” She looked at me, somewhat startled. “She died when I was five,” I began to explain, “before my father came back from the war. But she always loved the sanctuary; it’s where I get my love for animals from. Sorry, I suppose it’s quite a thing for me to tell you.”
“No, not at all, I asked about your life, and now you’re telling me. She sounded like a lovely person; I can’t imagine how painful it must have been. And I’m sorry if I’m bringing back an unsavoury memory. I should have remembered what happened, what with the whole town talking about it the way they did.”
“It’s alright,” I said. “It happened a long time ago. And yes, it was hard, of course, it was. Especially at the age when your mother’s the most important person in the world when you need her most- it hits you hard. I remember feeling lost after she died, as though I was lost in town, but this time, I knew she was never coming back…” I stopped briefly. “But as weird as it sounds, part of me feels sorrier for my father, he’s just… I don’t know it’s hard to explain, I don’t remember him too well before mother died, but he seemed happy and full of energy, but ever since he returned from the war, it’s as if he became a different person. I almost feel that he finds every day and the responsibility of looking after me overwhelming. Not that I’m a kid anymore, but he certainly hasn’t gotten any better. I do love him, though, I do. He’s my father after all. He’s a complicated man, but he has a good heart.”
“That’s entirely understandable, but it can’t make it any easier on you,” she replied. “Mind you; I suppose the loss of your wife while fighting in a foreign land would get the better of a lot of people.”
I nodded in partial agreement though it wasn’t long before I began feeling lethargic talking about my father. I would be back with him soon, and part of me wanted to forget about him and simply talk about Sophia.
“But more about you,” I said, “what’s your family like?”
“Ah,” she spouted as if the word ‘family’ was all she needed to delve into a verbose rant. “Like you I’m an only child, but sometimes I feel my father compensates for that by glaring at me every waking hour of the day. My mother, on the other hand, is like you, more reserved, gentle, but around me, she’s different which only reinforces how intimidating he is to be around, let alone live with. Don’t get me wrong- I love my daddy. Honestly, I do! He just has all these expectations of me, building me up to be a lawyer, going to Oxford. It’s just… you know? It feels overwhelming at times.”
I don’t was what I wanted to say. I wasn’t going to Oxford; neither was I training to be a lawyer. The only thing I knew was that I had to be up six days a week running a farm. She was from an entirely different background to me, and though I felt slightly in awe of her accomplishments, it also made me a little envious.
“I understand, having a tricky father that is, but no one’s family is perfect, right?”
She nodded, but in the process caught my eyes beaming her way. It was slightly awkward, but for the first time, something happened. There was a look in her eyes, a look that made me realise we were feeling something new. It felt good.
“I’ve seen your father in the local paper a fair bit,” I admitted. “He seems to have done okay for himself.”
“You could say that,” she said. “But it’s come at a cost to others. I mean, before he finally decided to settle back in Boxford, my childhood was just a portrait of new faces. I don’t even have any friends in Boxford as I always moved around the country with his law jobs being the way they were. But what he didn’t realise is that I hated him because of it. And even now I don’t think carting around wheelbarrows is what he had in mind for my summer, not that he…it just isn’t what he’s used to. Even my mother-” she broke off, a sudden shout of laughter escaping her lips. “Sorry, I just, the thought of my mother-” Another peal of laughter overtook her, “pushing a wheelbarrow in the muck-” Again, she stopped, gasping for breath, tears of mirth forming in the corner of her eyes. 
It was infectious, her unashamed laughter. It wasn’t long before I found my face contorted into an idiot’s grin, my stomach pitching at the sight of her.
“They’re not exactly like you are they?”
“Not at all!” she exclaimed. “What about you, what are your plans?”
“I don’t have one. Not here anyway.” 
“Yes, it’s not exactly a hotbed of opportunity here,” replied Sophia. “Where would you like to go? London perhaps?”
“I’ve thought about it, but I don’t see how I could leave my father to run the farm all by himself. But then again, I feel trapped in this town, and sometimes, I don’t know… I just want to run away and never look back.”
“You seem like an intelligent young man, Sean. I’m sure, in fact, I’m certain you can be anything you want to be in life, just don’t be afraid to jump.”
“That’s easy for you to say.”
“I never said it was easy,” she replied. “I’m just trying to tell you that this town doesn’t have to be your life forever. I know my background is different to yours. I’m not hiding that. All I know is that it could be an easy option for you to stay here, a safe choice. But sometimes the hardest decisions are the ones that end up bringing us the greatest joy.”
Sophia continued for some time after about her past, her time spent in boarding schools across the country, staying with her parents in their London home. Though there was one question, I desperately wanted to ask.
“How long do you have till you leave for Oxford?”
“Not until September, they’re quite short semesters though- just eight weeks, so it’s more like a grown-up version of boarding school. But for once I’m happy to have a bit of time here. Just the thought of Oxford is quite overwhelming.”
I had no way of truly understanding her, but I tried my best. “I can imagine it will be tough, but you seem like the type that excels at most things. You have a great future ahead of-“
“Sorry, Sean, this is me,” she interjected.
I looked up from the driveway at which we stood, and as I did, my eyes were attacked by a mountain of white. I recognised the house instantly- it was the house everyone in the village admired. It was a manor more than a house, with around fifty clear glass windows showing from the front side alone as green ivy branches spread loosely across the white exterior. Even the pillars between the two front doors gave the exterior a Grecian-like image that was quite obviously out of sync with most of the old timber houses in town. But then again, Sophia Hillingdon wasn’t like most people in Boxford.
“Well, this is it.”
“Yeah, I suppose… I suppose it is.”
“Thank you for walking me home, Sean. I had a lovely evening, even if you did scare the living daylights out of me with that voice of yours.”
“Well, aside from my terrible awkwardness and shouting, I hope I, at least, made it up to you with that walk. In fact, I was just thinking, well you know, I was kind of thinking we should-”
“You were thin-”
We soon stopped short, somewhat gratified that both our cheeks had reddened.
“Thinking, sorry, I mean knowing that I’ll be at the animal sanctuary tomorrow after work, do you fancy meeting there again?”
“I’d like that; I’d like that a lot.”
“I finish work at three; normally I go straight there after, maybe with a detour next time?”
“That sounds perfect.”
We waved goodbye, and as Sophia stepped further up the driveway towards her house, I couldn’t help but stand and look on. Her hair was a magnificent burning strawberry blonde colour with golden blonde streaks and thick and elongated strands that ran down the midsection of her back.
Turning the keys, she turned around one last time.
“Goodnight, Sean.”
“Goodnight,” I whispered.
[Want more? Click below to read another excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"He kept me turning the pages to the extent that I finished the book in one sitting, and not without quite a few tears" ~ The Bookbag
"I am not lying when I say I cried all through this book. The synopsis gives a strong sense of what happens and all while reading I just knew. Hugo Driscoll wrote this story so beautiful and it felt as if he'd written it directly from his heart. Both Sean and Sophia are wonderful characters and what they go through is heart breaking and so real. Seven days doesn't feel like a long time, but it certainly felt close to forever as I read." ~ Haddie Harper
"This book is a very touching story. Sean and Sophia have a fast paced relationship. Though they are from completely different families, in different social classes, they seem to be meant to be together. [...] This is a cute short book for your summer romance reads." ~ Jill Jemmett
"Wow! This book was so much more than I was expecting. Seven Days With You features quite a cast of quirky characters, many of whom charm the reader's heart despite their unique first impressions. I anticipated a lot of what would happen as it unfolded. However. The wonderful characters combined with the author's talent for snark and witty dialogue compensated for what it lacked in mystery, making it a captivating read from cover to cover." ~ C. Gonzalez
"This was a young adult novel that really made me think on a deeper level than most. I think that Hugo Driscoll really managed to keep his readers engaged with these characters the entire way through. There were many surprises and the way that the author was able to keep the pacing just right really helps everything flow naturally." ~ Bailey Ember

About the Author
Hugo Driscoll
Hugo Driscoll is a 25-year-old British author and content writer for an online publication in London.
When he's not working, you can usually find him writing in the basements of cafes or lamenting the unfair treatment of millennials in overcrowded London bars.
Seven Days with You is his first novel.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

"The Truth About Porn Star Boyfriends" by Sunniva Dee

The Truth About Porn Star Boyfriends
by Sunniva Dee

The Truth About Porn Star Boyfriends by Sunniva Dee

The Truth About Porn Star Boyfriends by Sunniva Dee has just been released and is available for only $0.99 for a limited time. This book blitz and giveaway is brought to you by Xpresso Book Tours.

For more books by this author, check out Shattering Halos (read my blog post), Leon's Way (read my blog post), Adrenaline Crush (read my blog post), Cat Love (read my blog post), Walking Heartbreak (read my blog post), Dodging Trains (read my blog post), In the Absence of You (read my blog post), The Fighter and the Baroness (read my blog post), and Path of Thieves (read my blog post).

I guess I just forgot.
To ask him what he did for a living, I mean.
By the time I did, I was in - balls deep, as he’d say.
He was the perfect boyfriend. Attentive, gorgeous, guessing my every wish and fulfilling them.
The sex was earth-shattering.
He even dealt with my crazy mom the way no one else could.
He popped the question, God, such a perfect guy.
There was just one issue: He fucked other girls on camera for a living.
How the hell do you deal with that?

Swapping work shifts with Frieda is crazy worth it as the Bentley pulls into our driveway. I watch Ciro ease out of the car and straightening, shoulders wide over his slender build. Lin is next to me, nudging my side. I’m ticklish and try to move away, but he just follows me, saying, “Eh? Eh?” like he’s Italian instead of Chinese.
In my haste to get to the door first, I knock over one of the four flamingo-and-hibiscus arrangements I’ve ostracized to the entryway, and Lin opens while I scoop up the mess. Water spills toward the front door, a prolongation of our welcome committee.
I peer through a lock that’s escaped my studiously loose bun and stare straight at Ciro. He looks ill, like he’s had too much sun. But then I realize it’s just his eyes; they simmer, which makes them seem even greener than usual. The smattering of golden and silver flecks is there too, making his irises glitter while he takes me in.
“Hai, I’m Lin Eun Young, Savannah’s!”
Ciro tears his gaze away from me to look at my roommate. Who’s bobbing his head hard, a grin on his face. Ciro accepts Lin’s hand and shakes it before his attention flicks between the two of us. “You’re Savannah’s?”
“You forgot a word, right, Lin? You’re my roommate.”
Lin’s expression doesn’t change, and his head keeps bobbing, so I start to nod too, and suddenly we’re a chaos of bobbing heads, rotten flower water and flamingo lilies—in my hands, on the floor, and in a cannon replica pointing straight at Ciro.
At the outer corners of Ciro’s eyes, there are fine wrinkles. They deepen as he breaks into a smile, taking in the flurry of red and green surrounding us.
“Nice to meet you, Lin. Do you guys need help?” He lowers next to me, picking up a few hibiscus. “Nice.”
“I figured you’d like them. I got them for you.” I bite down on my smile as I scoop wet leaves from the tiles and deposit them on a placemat. God knows what it’s doing in the hallway.
“Great taste, great taste.” Of course he sees the cannon.
“You like cannon?” That’s Lin, pulling his signature move, slim fingers steepling in front of his nose with excitement.
Pow.” And the picture is complete. Now Sam’s sauntering out from the living room just when I needed less, not more dimwits in here gawking.
“Never mind him.” I wish cheeks never flamed. “I’m ready if you want to get out of here? Sam, you’re on flower duty!” I bark the last part out to shut everyone up. Then I brush dead plant remnants off my hands and try to hoist Ciro up from his hunched position. He stands slowly, looking between Sam and me.
Okay, fine. I get it. “Samuel Ilardi, Ciro Silveira, nice to meet each other,” I mutter, rosy-cheeked.
“She’s so easily embarrassed,” Sam tells Ciro in lieu of pleasantries. Ciro uh-hums in agreement. “You see it on her eyes. See how big they are right now?”
“Sam, you’re a dick. Go home.”
Ciro’s gaze caresses me from the side, which does nothing to alleviate my awkwardness. “Yeah, I noticed her eyes when I first saw her, and I was done for.”
“No shit.” Sam nods sagely.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
"The Truth About Porn Star Boyfriends by Sunniva Dee is a total standout in the romance genre. Dive into this outstanding unconventional romance with plans to laugh, cry, swoon, and jump for joy." ~ Bestsellers & Beststellars of Romance
"Everyone should give this gem a try!!" ~ The Book Curmudgeon
"My gosh I was surprised by my voyeuristic tendencies in wanting to know exactly what his emotions were during his 'filming' and I have to tell you Ms. Dee did an exceptional job of portraying the 'real man' behind the actor!" ~ Sheila Schwartz
"It was driving me crazy to be inside Savannah's head and know what I know. I fell for him right along with her. I kept asking myself how I would handle that situation. If she doesn't come right out and ask him what he does for a living, is it a lie if he doesn't tell her? If he just lets her believe what she wants to? Sunniva is pretty amazing." ~ iScream Books Blog
"When it landed in my Kindle??? I threw a darn party! Did it live up to my expectations??? YES!!!! FREAKING FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I loved everything about this book." ~ Lina's Reviews
"I'm head over heels. Sunniva Dee never seizes to amaze me. My expectations were blown to smithereens, cause boy oh boy was I properly wooed by Ciro Silveira." ~ Bad and Dirty Books
"Simply put, I loved this story. The Truth about Porn Star Boyfriends is provocative and challenges what's considered betrayal within the confines of an exclusive relationship. It's a subtle presentation of an alternative point of view." ~ A British Bookworm
"I wondered about the possibility of Ciro's story ever happening. I had a source to ask and found out that his situation is a real thing. Talk about hot scenes and risque dialogue!" ~ S.F. Benson

About the Author
Sunniva Dee
Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground: Southern Europe (Spain, Italy, Greece), Argentina (Buenos Aires, in particular). The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.

Enter the blitz-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card.