Tuesday 12 August 2014

Blog Tour ~ Review, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ Smoldering by Tiffany Aleman

Book Description:

Money ~ power ~ fame


Growing up in the arms of one of the wealthiest families in America, I lived a champagne lifestyle and never wanted for anything.

That life came with stipulations…
1. Marry the man I don't love.
2. Make my parents proud.


I left my Manolos and fancy apartment behind and fled that life to find out who I really was.

Someone unexpected bulldozed my life.

Riley Jackson

He was the man everyone, including me, wanted, but his future was one I wasn’t sure I wanted to thrust myself back into. And when he chose a career over the family business, his family supported him instead of pushing him away.

My past collided with my future.
I didn’t see it coming. If I had, I would’ve ran far, far away.

Now I’m stuck in the same position I started in two years ago, except this time, the decision isn't mine to make.

Loyalty to your family? Loyalty to your own happiness?

Which would you choose?


The past week has been pure hell. After I left his parents’ house, something shifted in our relationship, and it wasn’t for the better. I knew the moment Todd called me his ex-fiancĂ© in front of everyone, things between Riley and I would never be the same. I could feel it deep within my soul. It was like all the air had been sucked out of the room and I couldn’t breathe. Now, I’m suffocating.

That was seven days ago.

Seven days that my calls and texts have gone unanswered.

Seven days since I’ve seen him.

I’d like to chalk it up to he’s just busy but I know differently. Sleep has evaded me. My appetite is no longer existent. I stay holed up in my room, only leaving for work. I’m living like a hermit. I’ve become a shell of the person I was a week ago. Jen has exhausted all her efforts to make me feel better, but it’s no use. In a million pieces, I left my heart in a driveway in Alabama and, for the first time in my life, I don’t know how to cope.

After deciding that I’m finished trying to get him to come to me, I make the decision to go to him. In a pair of sweat pants and a ratted T-shirt, I pull myself out of bed, not giving a damn how I look. He needs to see what his avoidance has done to me. I go into the bathroom and what I see in the mirror doesn’t surprise me at all. Bloodshot eyes, the tip of my nose and lips red and swollen, and my hair a mess, at least I look how I feel, like shit. For the first time in days, I brush my teeth and even the fresh feeling doesn’t improve my mood. I pull my hair back in a messy bun and decide that’s as good as it’s going to get.

“Where are you going?” Jen asks cautiously as I pick up my purse off the bookshelf by the couch.

“Out,” I answer in a monotone voice, the same voice she’s heard all week.

“Kelsey, I don’t think that’s a good ide—,” she states, but I don’t let her finish as I walk out the door, promptly shutting it on her response.

As I walk out into the humid summer air that the end of July brings, I make my way to my car. It’s pouring out, which causes me to laugh out sardonically. The irony of the storm brewing above matches the tidal wave of emotions happening within me. Realistically, I know, in the state I’m in, I probably shouldn’t be driving, but I’m to the point that I just don’t give a shit anymore.

I’m not sure how I make it to Riley’s house in one piece. On a normal day, the drive would have taken me thirty minutes without traffic, but in a storm, it should have taken me longer. Magically, I make it there in fifteen. And here I sit, probably looking like a stalker, in the driveway parked behind his car. A silver Mercedes occupies the spot where I normally park. Thunder and lightning collide in the night sky, rattling the windows in my car. Rain pours down in sheets, soaking me to the bone as soon as I step out of my car to make my way up the walkway and stairs until I’m standing at the front entrance.

On the other side of this door is the one person that can make all the hurt I’ve been feeling this past week disappear. Pain pierces straight through my heart at the thought of not seeing him again. I sniffle back the tears that I’ve been crying for days. My hands brace my weight against the doorframe as memories of us assault me. The night at City Market when we danced in the middle of Ellis Square, our first technical date, the Blackhawk, the first time we made love, the first time he told me he loved me. I squeeze my eyes shut tightly willing the memories, the happiest memories I’ve ever known, to stop. Tears mix in with the rain as they both flow down my face. Heaving a deep breath, I push myself upright, square my shoulders, and hold my head up high. If this is it, if what we have is really over, then he better be man enough to tell me to my face. The unknown of what is about to come out of this whole situation scares the shit out of me, but I need to know. Slowly, I raise my fist to knock on the door when it suddenly flies open and what I see makes me want to vomit all over again.

A tall, blonde pulls at the hem of her shirt as she rights herself. My eyes feel like they are about to pop out as my mouth opens and shuts as if I’m about to say something. Smeared lipstick stains her cheeks and I’m not sure who’s more shocked, her or me. When my wide eyes meet hers, it literally feels as if a knife has stabbed me in the stomach. If I thought for one second that this past week showed me what actual pain was, I was dead wrong. My knees feel as if they’re about to give way beneath my weight as I stare at the woman in front of me. She smiles at me and her eyes rake over my body, clearly deciding that I’m no competition for her. I look past her to see Riley sitting on the couch in just his jeans, his head in his hands. A tumbler filled with amber liquid rests in front of him on the coffee table.

“Are you fucking serious right now?” I ask through a sob.

The woman looks back at him over her shoulder before turning to look at me. She shrugs her shoulders and says, “Maybe you’ll do the trick. He couldn’t even get it up because he’s so drunk.”

I storm past her, shoving her out of the way, as I make my way to stand directly in front of Riley.

“Hey, bitch, watch it,” she shouts.

When I look at her, she must realize that I’m about to release the hounds of hell in this house because she slowly begins her retreat out the door.

“Get. The. Fuck. Out.” The menacing tone of my voice scares even me.

As soon as the door clicks shut behind her, I turn all my anger, hurt, and rage on the only man deserving of my wrath.

“You have something you want to tell me?” I ask. Tears flow freely down my face. There’s no use in trying to conceal them. They just continue to race down my face on their own accord.

He shakes his head from side to side, groaning.

“I asked you a fucking question.”

When he looks up at me, I literally drop to my knees. His eyes are just as bloodshot as mine. The scent of whiskey seeps out of his pores. The evidence of lipstick runs down his neck, across his jaw, and on his lips. My hand flies to my mouth as bile rises in my throat.

“I am so fucking sorry,” he whispers, shaking his head and his eyes holding a vacant stare.

Our Review:

Reviewed by Donna ~ 4.5 Stars

“You came into my life like a sandstorm, here one minute and gone the next. Your sand surrounded me, blanketing me in love. Your sand consumed me as I drowned in everything that makes you, you. Your sand suffocated me, leaving me to breathe only the breath you gave me.”

Well, what can I say…I am still a bit of an emotional wreck so I needed to put pen to paper as soon as I could. Everyone who knows me and reads my reviews knows that my favourite book is one that makes me “feel,” I want to live and breathe the book with the characters and Tiffany managed to do this is spades. Judging by the tears that I lost while reading this book, I know she hit it spot on, I was a mess and it wasn’t pretty. This is by no means a sad book, but it is highly emotional in places and if you are a softy like me, then you will feel it all too.

This is a story about Kelsey and Riley. Kelsey is a congressman’s daughter, her parents have high expectations and there is a family reputation to uphold no matter the consequences or the sacrifices. It seems that the biggest sacrifice her parents are willing to make is their one and only child’s happiness. Reputations and appearances are her parents biggest worries, reading between the lines, Kelsey seemed to be more of an inconvenience than anything else. It felt at times they only had a child so they could portray a normal family unit. There was no love, no interaction between Kelsey and her parents. Kelsey craved their love, their adoration, their respect and she was willing to do anything to try to make them love her, even if that meant marrying the man they chose for her, even though he was an ass, he was horrible and she didn’t love him. The man that her parents chose was highly connected in politics and it made “good political sense” for these two to get married, he already had a mistress and that was before they got married. Kelsey had to really do some soul searching and weigh up the pros and cons, was this really all worth it? Was she willing to live the life that her parents wanted for her, even though nothing seems to have made a difference to their feelings for her? Finally while standing at the altar, she has her epiphany, she runs, her parents disown her and finally Kelsey’s life can begin.

“If you do not marry him, you will be dead to us,” my father states. His hands are tucked casually into his suit pockets like this is just another day at the office, not like he just gave me the biggest ultimatum of my life. At one point in my life, those words would have gutted me. Hell, thirty minutes ago those words would have caused me physical pain, but not now. Now those words are of liberation to me, words that make me feel free.

The story picks up two years later, Kelsey and her best friend Jen had moved away from home and were living together. Kelsey didn’t want to utilise her Master’s Degree in nursing as her parents had paid for it so she was working the night shift in a truck stop diner. She loved her job though; she had met some amazing people, none more so amazing than the night that a certain Riley Jackson walked in.

Riley Jackson, the epitome of a perfect man, he was well mannered, gorgeous and he was a man in uniform, he was a helicopter pilot in the army. He exuded confidence, he knew what he wanted and went all guns blazing to get it. He wanted Kelsey.

“Because see, if you pass out, then I’ll have to rush behind the counter to make sure you’re breathing. And of course, that might result in a little mouth to mouth.” He shakes his head . “And I don’t think you’re ready for any of that.” My jaw drops from his self -confidence. “You seem pretty sure of yourself . What makes you think I would want you to give me mouth to mouth? Why not just check my pulse?” I retort. “Because that would consist of me putting my hands on you, and when I do that, you. Will. Not. Want. Me. To. Stop,” he states matter of fact.

As with any new relationship they have their ups and downs, there are secrets, but there is also shared confidances, meeting his parents, the getting to know you phase. These two had amazing chemistry, it oozed off the pages and you couldn’t help but be pulled into their relationship hook, line and sinker. You were championing them from the start, you wanted them to make it, and they were perfect for each other. The banter between them was hilarious, not only were they lovers but they were best friends and this was beautiful to watch develop.

Riley and Kelsey shared more than they even realised, they both came from money and it was inevitable that Kelsey’s past and future would cross over at some point…and it does. Kelsey wanted to forget her past, her parents had said that she was dead to them and so she had the same opinion. She wanted to forget “Kelsey” she just wanted to be “Kels,” Kelsey was gone.

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this book, I was gripped from start to finish, I wanted to read it in one sitting and I didn’t want to put it down. As I said, it is emotional in places but this is interspersed with great humour and wit, leaving this read perfectly balanced. All the side characters had a reason to be there and were all totally loveable (except the ex of course). Her best friend Jen was a total hoot, Lyle was just the best friend ever, so understanding. Riley’s parents were adorable and even the truck stop workers and patrons made their mark in this story.

“I was an open field, full and plentiful, needing tender love and care. My parents drove the plow over me, tearing up my soil. They left me broken. Thirsty for love. Hungry for affection. Todd was the asshole that came and poured concrete in the empty spaces of my soul, leaving me with scars as hard as stone . But Riley, he’s my jackhammer. Slowly, he digs out the unrelenting pieces of stone, giving me what neither my parents nor Todd would. He replenishes me in a way that no one ever has. He’s saving me and doesn’t even know it.”

I must admit, I wasn’t ready for this story to end and I would have loved for their story to be continued. For me, I felt they were just beginning, maybe I am being greedy, but I am hoping that this is not the ends for Kels and Riley; I feel that their story has a lot further to go.
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