Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book Tour: Ryan Hunter and Play With Me - both by Piper Shelly - Review and Interview

Title: Play With Me
Author: Piper Shelly

About the Book: Ryan Hunter's parties are legend.

And tonight she's going to be there.

Liza Matthews anticipates the return of her best friend and only love since kindergarten from soccer camp. But when Tony finally shows up, his mind is more focused on another girl. And worse, she's a soccer player. Fighting for the attention Liza craves, she's just a hairbreadth away from making a very stupid decision. But when extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, she's prepared to play ball to get her man.

The tryouts are hell, the first match ends bloody, and the morning after the selection party she wakes up in the worst place possible—in the arms of the captain of the soccer team. The hottest guy in school. Ryan Hunter.

THE SUN BREAKING through the windows woke me the next morning. I felt as if I was drifting out to a restless sea on an unsound airbed. It took a few seconds for the eerie swaying to stop so that I could focus.

My cheek rested on a pillow smelling of pine trees and warmth. I inhaled deeply, wanting to keep that scent, and opened my eyes to stare at the sensual lips of Ryan Hunter. My hand on his naked chest rose and fell with his slow, even breaths.

Holy cow, what the hell happened? I was in bed with the captain of the soccer team. Heck, I should have never gone to that party.

Now, my only thought was run. But shock kept me pinned to the bed as I became aware of the entangled position Ryan and I had taken on in our sleep. Lying on my right, my left leg was slung over his hip. My calf rested neatly on his groin. He lay on his back, his left leg bent so, that I wouldn’t be able to withdraw mine. I tried to stop my body from shivering. No chance.

Not daring to wake him, I didn’t move, frantically running through the options I had. Great, there were none. I was trapped.

Maybe if I lay still, pretending to be fast asleep, until he woke up and got out of bed first, then I could sneak out after him and be gone before he noticed. I would have slapped myself for that idea if I could remove my hand from his warm chest.

And a firm chest it was. He must lift weights besides playing soccer. As if my eyes had their own mind, they traveled down his gorgeous body. A thin trail of dark hair led south from his navel over his flat stomach until it vanished under the waistband of his jeans. His bent leg seemed amazingly long. I never paid attention, but he must be more than a head taller than me.

My gaze swept up to his neck and the part of his face not covered with his arm. A lean jaw and a perfect, straight nose. He sported an overnight shadow that begged to be rubbed. I resisted. Under his left ear was an old scar, about an inch long. One would never notice unless close to him, like I was now.

Suddenly his lips twitched.
“I can feel you staring at me,” he said in the softest wake-up voice I’d ever heard. “I only hope you’re a girl and not one of the drunken guys.”

My breath caught in my chest. I jerked my hand back from him. Not taking his arm away from his face yet, he reached down with his other hand. And slowly ran his palm over my naked thigh in the direction of my bum.

“Yep, definitely female,” he purred.

In panic, I held his hand in place. “Move another inch, Hunter, and you’re a dead man.”

“Matthews?” Surprised amusement filled his chuckle. Unlike me, he seemed relaxed enough.
A strange heat rose from my gut to my head as I studied his hand on my bare skin. Wearing nothing but jeans and a black wrist watch, he looked more like a guy from the many posters on the walls of Caroline Davis’ bedroom than the boy I knew from school.

I felt awkward for not letting go of his hand on my leg, but I was too scared he’d continue the path he’d started if I did.

“Tell me, Matthews,” he said as he dropped his arm to the pillow and tilted his head to study me with warm eyes. “Why do I have you in my bed, when I’m not allowed to touch you?”

“I didn’t know there were strawberries in the soda,” I whined.

His brow furrowed, his lips pursed. “Come again?”

Jeez, did he not realize that he was still holding my leg, and how very uncomfortable—and excited—it made me? “Someone was getting me sweet soda all evening.” My voice shook slightly. “I didn’t realize it was the wine cooler you meant when you said—”

“—not to touch the strawberries,” he finished for me, closing his eyes. “Damn, I told her not to punch it too much.”

What? The wine cooler? I was pretty sure I had a tad too much of that stuff.

A frown creased Ryan’s brows as he looked at me again. “Sorry, I don’t remember much of the night after I carried you up here. Am I in trouble?”

Considering I still had my clothes on, nothing had happened during the night. “As far as I remember you were pretty drunk yourself. So I was quite safe from you.”

A smirk played around one corner of his mouth. “I’m afraid my time of numb indifference is over.” His thumb had started drawing small circles on my skin. “So, unless you’re up for some trouble now, would you mind moving your leg?”

My eyes widened at his seductive threat.

“What? You know you’re not the ugliest girl in the world.”

Wow, what a compliment. Idiot. I needed to get out of here. Back to…back to… Damn, Ryan had a nice smile.

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Title: Ryan Hunter, This Girl is Mine
Author: Piper Shelly

About the Book: Ryan Hunter kissed more girls than he cares to remember. But the only one he ever wanted is in love with his best friend.

Watching Liza Matthews’ obsession with Tony Mitchell is a torture Ryan conceals from everyone. Until after a five-week soccer camp, where Tony gets involved with someone else, things suddenly take a different turn. Ryan knows if he doesn’t make a move now and grab his chance, he might never get another.

Asked by Tony to distract Liza, Ryan is only too happy. He subtly seduces her first into his soccer team and later on to his party. He does all in his power to make her see that he’s not just an insufferable playboy but a guy who really cares about her. Some one-on-one soccer training, a passionate kiss— things seem to be going the way he wants. Except Ryan didn’t reckon on his best friend showing up at the worst possible moment and destroying everything…

As the stomping beat grew louder the farther we walked down the windowless aisle that was dimly lit by neon bars, Liza pulled on my arm and stopped me. “I don’t think I should be here,” she whined. “On second thought, you shouldn’t be here either.”

“You worry too much.” I pulled her on, giving her no chance to back out. “I’m here almost every weekend. Everyone knows me. And no one will bother us.”

I pushed the thick metal door in front of us open. A cloud of dry smoke and sweat immediately stabbed us in the face. The strobe light made focusing impossible, but I knew my way around here and maneuvered us through the bumping and grinding crowd of clubbers. “C’mon, let’s dance.”

The word dance shifted down a gear in Liza’s pace, but I came here for a reason, and feeling her body close to mine was definitely one of the most important. Holding her hand tight, I dragged her along onto the middle of the dance floor, then I turned her around and pressed her against me. Her skin and hair were the only things smelling good in this place, and I dragged in a deep breath when I lowered my head to hers. “Loosen up, Matthews. You’re supposed to have fun.” Giving her a soft push, I twirled her under my arm, then caught her again, and pressed my lips to her ear. “Or at least look like you do.”

Liza laughed, but I could also feel her shivering slightly every time I hugged her tight against my chest. Mmm, it was just the way I wanted her to react to me. Spinning her around, I caught her with her back to my front, running my palm from just underneath her breasts down over her stomach until my hand lay splayed over the small strip of naked skin on her belly. With gentle moves, I made her roll her body with mine to the music.

“What are you doing?” she shouted over her shoulder between hiccups of shy laughter.
Nuzzling her temple, I said in her ear, “Distracting you.” I moved her again and loved how her body rubbed against mine, making me go wild for her.

It was probably a good thing that Phil came in at that minute and motioned for me to come over as our gazes caught across the room, because otherwise I might just have dragged Liza back out into my car to fucking make out with her for the rest of the night.

Liza smoothed her clothes, that had turned into a mess from my holding her, as we headed over to the oblong bar where Phil served some drinks to a couple of patrons. When they left, he grabbed two cans of Coke from the fridge and placed them in front of Liza and me. Since there were no speakers above the bar, we could talk in an almost normal volume back here.

“Phil—Liza,” I introduced them. “Liza, this is Phil, my older sister’s husband.”
Liza shook hands with him then guzzled down what seemed to be three quarters of the Coke on one go. I helped her onto one of the high, leather bar stools and took a casual stance between her legs, turned to face the bar.

Phil knew that whoever I brought with me to this club wasn’t my girlfriend, so he asked, “You know each other from school?”

“Sort of. We play soccer together now,” I told him. “New co-ed team.”

“Really? That’s cool.” He turned an interested face to Liza and pulled his shoulder length hair into a pony tail. “Do you like it?”

“Yeah, it’s great. Love the training.”

What did she just say? Slowly to make an impact, I turned toward her, raising one brow.

“What?” she mouthed, returning my look with an irritated one of her own.

Our gazes locked for the length of a heartbeat, then I tucked her soft strands behind her ear and leaned closer. “I still have the text where you say you’re done with soccer, Liza.”
I realized how she swallowed at my taunt. But then she leaned back just a little and looked me sternly in the eye. “Did you really not know my name before I sent you that message?”
Ah, girl, if only you knew. But I wouldn’t tell her. Not now, anyway. With a laugh, I shrugged it off. “Why, Matthews? You were devoted to Mitchell. What would I care?”

That earned me a hard shove against my shoulder, but she grinned, anyway. “You’re such an ass, you know.”

“I’ve been told girls go for that,” I mocked her. If a smile from me could make her dreamy, I wondered what a wink would do. I tested that then drank from my Coke, but with my eyes still on her face, and enjoyed how her cheeks flushed a delicious pink. She tried to hide behind her can of Coke then as she took another swig, but her gaze returned to me, and the moment we shared looking at each other filled me with a desire for her that topped everything I’d known in the past.

I was abruptly pulled out of that moment when a girl looped her arm around my neck and pressed a kiss to my cheek. For the time of a heartbeat I froze, scared this was one of my acquaintances coming over to say hello at the utterly wrong moment. Then I looked into familiar brown eyes.

“Hi, little brother,” Rachel said and shoved her long black hair back over her shoulder.
“Hey,” I said back and relaxed. I knew she was burning to hear who the girl by my side was, so I waited until she came around, then I told her, “This is the friend of a friend. Her name is Matthews, and she’s on my soccer team. Well was…is…I don’t know.”

The girls shook hands, and Liza said after a short scowl at me, “My name is Liza.”

“Don’t mind him. The oaf was never comfortable with first names.” Rach sold me out. “I’m lucky—I’m his sister.”

Yeah, right. “That doesn’t mean a thing, Carter.” I pulled her hair like I used to do when I wanted to annoy her as a child and laughed. Then I popped another soda and clinked cans with my brother in law.

“So, the friend of a friend, huh?” I heard Rachel say to Liza, and she sounded way to curious. “Where is that friend?”

“Not here,” I told her with an evil grin, letting her know that for tonight, Liza was my friend. Liza seemed to enjoy that fact just the same as she met my gaze.

The only one who didn’t look happy was Rachel. “Just when will you grow up and settle for one?”

Luckily, Phil backed me up as he leaned over the bar and kissed my sister. “He’s young, baby. He has time.”

“I know.” Rachel gave me a wry look. “I’m just waiting for the day that a girl sees through you…and decides to like you anyway.”

“Yep, me, too.” I really was. And hopefully, Liza would just be the one.

“That calls for a drink!” Philip announced all of a sudden, and I could have murdered him for that.

But instead, I froze, and a weird shower skittered down the back of my neck. What the hell—he couldn’t be serious. This wasn’t me bringing a random girl to the club to have some meaningless fun, goddammit. It was Liza. And I would do many things with her right now, but I wouldn’t ruin our first kiss with a stupid game.

Phil place two small glasses on the counter and shoved one toward me. Immediately, I passed it on to my sister, not intending to play along. “You can have your drink with Rach. I’ll skip tonight.”

“This game is stupid,” Rach pointed out with a disgusted grunt.

But Philip ignored her and made a wry face at me. “You pass? With that beautiful drinking partner?”

She was beautiful, but that was not the point. “I’m not having this drink with her.”

“Why? Is she shy?”

Maybe she was, but who gave a damn? Above all, Liza was special. And Phil needed to understand that. “She’s too nice,” I said, determined to put an end to this. At the same time, I noticed Liza’s attention focused on me, and it was anything but pleasant.

“Ah, she’s a prude then,” Phil concluded wrongly.

That seriously pissed Liza off. “I’m not a prude! And I’m standing right beside you, so I would appreciate it if you told me what the hell you two are talking about.”

Trying to soothe and reassure her, I stroked her cheek with my knuckles. “She’s decent,” I corrected Phil.

“Yeah, and decent is a shit word for prude,” Liza muttered, dropping her gaze, but then she looked back at me and scowled again. Or maybe it wasn’t a scowl after all? “Why don’t you want to do with me whatever you’re used to doing with others when you come here?”
Oh, girl, if only you knew how very much I want to do just that with you. With everything I’d found out from yesterday’s diary entry, I could just imagine how the thought of my denying her would hurt her. It made her vulnerable to me, and in that exact moment, I realized with a start how much this appealed to me. I always thought I’d go for the sassy and strong type of girl, which Liza definitely could be if she wanted to. But it was her vulnerability that attracted me the most.

And yet, I couldn’t take advantage of it. Anybody’s first kiss should be romantic. Something Liza would remember for the rest of her life…and smile when she did. She’d hate me if I spoiled this for her. But heck, when I looked at her cute pout, I could hardly withstand the temptation. “You don’t know what you’re asking for, Matthews,” I growled.

“Well, it won’t kill me to find out, right?”

It wouldn’t kill her, no. But she might kill me, if I screwed this up. Her eyes fastened on mine. Holy shit, what if I just gave it a try? If I made it good for her, she might acquire a taste for it. More me.

Taking in a deep breath, I drawled, “Okay. But remember, I gave you fair warning.”

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 My thoughts:  These books are both very quick reads.  I read Play With Me first and think that is a good order to read them in.

Play With Me tells Liza's side of what happens between her, Tony and Ryan.  Tony has been her best friend forever and she has herself convinced that she is in love with him.  She is just waiting for Tony to realize it.  Unfortunately, he comes back from soccer camp with eyes for another girl.  We get to see all the events from Liza's POV.  She closes her eyes to the fact that Tony might be interested in someone else, so when he point blank tells her, it is quite a shock.  However, since she has been enjoying the attention of Ryan Hunter, it makes you wonder whether or not she was as clueless as she let on.  Things come to a head though when Tony lets it slip in front of her that he "asked" Ryan to spend time with her to "distract" her.

In Ryan Hunter we get to see the same story line from Ryan's POV.  It was fun to see a guy vulnerable and upset over losing out on a girl and misunderstandings that happen.  Normally you only see that from a girl's side.  I liked seeing the story from Ryan's POV after having read Liza's side because then I knew what she was feeling as I learned what he was feeling as well.  Did that make sense?  It is hard to tell you much more without spilling the beans on how the story ends.  If you are worried that you might be bored reading essentially the same story again, don't be.  I found it to be a lot of fun and enjoyed reading all the way to the end.

~I received complimentary eCopies of both of these books from Reading Addiction Blog Tours in exchange for my unbiased review.~

About the author: Wow, this is always the hardest part for me to write…don’t know why. You would think talking about my life should be easier.

I was born and raised in Austria. Half my life I spent in Vienna, but I didn’t like the city. I much prefer the beautiful countryside, with its many meadows and the breathtaking Alps. That’s why I moved to Upper Austria right after graduation. There are trees now in front of my window instead of just another ugly gray building, and I love to be woken by the cacophony of birds every morning.

At seventeen, I met the love of my life, but it took another four years until we finally got together. It was the best decision I could have made. I’m now married to this man, and I count myself lucky for someone like him. Even I will admit it can be hard at times to live with me. I’m moody and tend to lapse into my fantasy world at any given minute—well in my defense, I’m a writer. :-)

We have a ten-year-old son, and together we travel a lot…although I sometimes wish the trips were shorter because I can’t wait to get back to my laptop and WIP. Yeah, that’s just me. I built my world around my passion, and I like it that way.

So, you see, I’m leading a pretty normal life.

Of course it will all change the day my book follows the act of Harry Potter, and I’ll become richer than the Queen. I swear I’ll never again clean my windows myself then. Yeah, one day, LOL…

1. How do you typically write? Do you plot it all out beforehand or do you just let the story pour out?
I have a routine. I write the first chapter to get a feeling for my characters’ voices, then I sit back and plot. But even with a story thread in mind, it will most likely change several times until I finish the book.

2. Do you have a favorite place to write or “must haves” while writing?
I wish I could write on a nice patio in front of the house, somewhere overlooking a lake. But I have my laptop in my writing room on the first floor of my house, and I next to never write anywhere else. Well, sometimes I write in the kitchen. I must have warm feet when I write. 

3. Do you have much say in the title or covers of you books?
I have 100% say. That’s the good thing about being an indie-author. The problem with it is to find the right pictures to use for covers. I often piece a lot of elements together to make it unique and standing out. Titles are a hard nut for me. And I’m not always happy with them after publication.

4. Is there anything that has surprised you about writing, publishing or touring with your books?
In fact, yes. I was surprised how easy self-publishing was and how many benefits you have with it. I was very surprised in a bad way about the narrow minds of agents and publishers who decide which book will be “liked” by people and which not. They so often reject books that afterwards are doing amazingly well when being self-pubbed. I think the way of publishing undergoes a severe changing at the moment. More and more authors part with their publishers and go their own way because they want to have more say in everything and don’t give away 90% of the profit when they are actually the ones that did 99% of the work. Yeah…having that said, it surprises me how many new authors still try to get a contract with publishing houses or literary agencies.

5. Do you have a favorite author/book or one that you always recommend?
I love HUSH, HUSH, a story about a fallen angel. But to be honest, only the first book of the 4-volume-series really pulled me in. My favorite author is Kerrelyn Sparks. I love her vampire stories.

I loved Hush, Hush as well!

6. Was there anything (or anyone) while growing up which helped you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Um…that would be L.J.Smith. She was my favorite author when I was a teenager and I wanted to create amazing stories such as she did. The rest was all my own decision and hard work.

7. Do you have a job outside of being an author?
Yeah, I work in the accountants department of a huge European company that produces fancy furniture, but only 5 hours a day. Considering what I make with my books and what I make in that company a month, I consider it more a hobby by now. Well, hobby because I like the people in my office and enjoy to be with them everyday. I wouldn’t have to stay in that job necessarily.

8. What would you tell a beginning writer?
NEVER GIVE UP!! It’s your dream, and don’t you dare let anyone destroy it for you. Find a cool critique group, contact experienced authors, take advice that will help you, but don’t take on everything, learn what you can, do workshops on the craft and read, read, read…!

9. What were your favorite books growing up?
I hated reading when I was younger, duh! :P The first book I actually finished was one by Stephen King. I then read more books by him, but later I found out it’s the romance genre I really enjoyed. So from age 17 on, I only read romance books, mostly vampires, sometimes witches, from Lisa Jane Smith. Later I read Harry Potter and then some others, but I was already grown up then.

Stephen King was my favorite author as a teenager.  I have continued to collect his books over the years.
10. Do you have any books on your nightstand right now?
FINALE. Part 4 of the HUSH, HUSH saga. And FIFTY SHADES DARKER. Both books don’t really pull me in.

11. If you could meet one person who has died, who would that be?
My Gran, Katharina. She died way too soon and too quickly. I missed the chance to tell her good-bye.

12. If you could co-author a book with anyone, who would it be?
Aw, that’s a hard one. I think I’m too possessive of my stories that I would allow anyone to work on them, too. If, however, then probably with my critique partner, Georgia Lyn Hunter. We think quite alike.

13. Do you have a favorite quote?
My bed, my rules. ;-)

14. In one sentence, why should we read your book?
Because it’s super romantic, sexy, and I was told I write the best male leads ever. ;-) If you don’t go for sexy, playful heroes, don’t waste your time with my book, though.

I agree - Ryan was great!

15. What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
Okay, here’s the big confession. I don’t speak English very well. :P
I’m from Austria, meaning German is my first language. I read English books only and that’s why I decided to write English, too. But because I don’t have anyone here in Austria who I could “talk” English, too, my spoken English is really bad. If you ever find me somewhere and talk to me, you would have to speak really slowly and “articulate”. ;-)

16. What do you come up with first when creating your character- the back story, the plot, the characteristics?
Always the characters followed by one romantic scene in the book. Then I write chapter one, and finally I plot.

17. What do you do in your spare time?
Um…I write? I really get bored if I can’t write. Sometimes I go to the mountains with my family if there’s really nice weather on weekends, or I meet friends. But I really do enjoy being an author.

18. What does a day in your life look like?
5:45 Alarm goes off and I get up, boot up my laptop, check emails, answer fan mail, check facebook, get dressed and ready for work. I walk my son to school and start work around 7:30.
By noon I’m normally back home, eat lunch if the hubby was home that day and prepared something, or cook and eat with my son. Before that, I boot up my laptop of course, check emails and facebook again.
After lunch I start working on my WIP which can take until 9, maybe 10 in the evening. If I’m not in a proper writing mood, I might go shopping, have coffee with someone (mostly my other Gran or a friend) or annoy the hell out of my husband because I’m bored.

19. How does your family feel about having a writer in the family? Do they read your books?
They are all majorly proud of me and yeah, they usually do read everything I write. My mom’s my biggest fan, tied with my cousin. My husband didn’t yet read anything from me, because he’s not a great fan of books, least of all romance books.

20. Is there anything else that you would like my readers to know?
I’m always happy to get in contact with my readers, so if you’d like to hang out and chat, you can visit my facebook site.
If you’re thinking about getting one of my books and can’t decide whether it’s the right book for you, you can read the first half of each book for free on my website. Sound fair? :-)

Silly questions –
1. If you could have a superpower, what would it be?
I’m asking this myself time and again, just to be prepared in case a Jin comes along and grants me one wish ;-) I think I would like to be forever 23 and able to time travel.

2. Do you have any hidden talents?
I’m pretty good at drawing with a pencil or charcoal. I have a feeling for rhythm, and I love to dance. And then I’m able to play the piano by hearing. I never took lessons, but when I was younger, I taught it to myself and was almost good at it. Not a Bach or Mozart, of course, but I really enjoyed playing for my personal pleasure.

3. Night owl or early bird?
Early bird. Totally.

4. Favorite season?

5. If someone wrote a book about your life, what would the title be?
S is for…She never gave up.

6. Favorite sport?
Zumba dancing and horse riding

7. Favorite music?
I like a lot of things. OneRepublic is one of my favorite bands, but I also love Thomas Bergerson. He writes very dramatic music which is fantastic for my paranormal book playlist.

8. Talk or text?
I like both.

9. Cat or dog?
Cat (I have two. Lily and Emma)

10. Favorite tv show?
The Vampire Diaries

11. Favorite holiday destination?
Disneyland or anywhere warm and by the sea. I also love England and California.

12. Do you have a literary crush?
Yeah…I’m crushing on all my characters, because I can shape them right the way I want them. Playful and sexy. ;-)

13. If you could live in a literary world - what world would that be and why?
Hogwarts!! Do I really need to explain why?

14. Most embarrassing moment?
When my boyfriend (now husband) playfully pressed me against the wall in my room and said in no uncertain terms that he’d like to f…er…make love to me. And my mom chose that moment to walk into my room without knocking.
Thanks, mom, I’ll never forget. :P

15. If you could travel forward or backward in time, where would you go and why?
Way forward. I want to see what’s going to happen in 100, 200, 500 years. Where we all are, what we are able to do, what we look like, where we can go, that sort of things. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know?

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