Review & Giveaway: Hold On (The ‘Burg #6) by Kristen Ashley

Posted September 2, 2015 by bookstobreathe in Book Review, Giveaway, New Release / 0 Comments

Review & Giveaway: Hold On (The ‘Burg #6) by Kristen AshleyTitle: Hold On
Author: Kristen Ashley
Series: The 'Burg #6
Published by Self-Published
Release Date September 1, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Erotic Romance
Pages: 641
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase From: Amazon US
Purchase From: Barnes & Noble
Purchase From: Amazon UK
Purchase From: iTunes
Purchase From: Kobo
Since she was young, Cher Rivers knew she was not the kind of girl who got what she wanted. A girl who could hope. A girl who could dream. She knew a happily ever after just wasn't in the cards for her.

In love for years with the last bastion of the 'burg's eligible bachelors, Garrett Merrick, Cher worked hard at making him laugh. Being one of the guys. Having him in her life the only way she could. All this knowing he was in love with another woman.

The Merrick Family is known for loving deep. So when Cecelia Merrick was murdered, it marked the Merricks in a way none of them recovered. Both Cecelia's children found love. Both turned their backs on it. But Garrett "Merry" Merrick knew in his soul the woman he divorced years ago was the one for him.

Until the night when Cher took Garrett's back and things changed. The Merrick family loves deep. They also protect fiercely. And with his eyes finally open, Garrett sees the woman who truly is for him and he goes after her.

HOLD ON BlogTour Graphic

Exciting news, Rock Chicks and Rock Gurus, Merry and Cher’s story, the finale to The ‘Burg series, is coming your way.

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Exclusive Excerpt

Through this, my leg hit an end table and I adjusted. We cleared the couch, I shifted again too soon, both my calves hit the coffee table, and my ass went down on it.

I looked up. Cell flat to the table, I braced my hands to push up, but Merry was there, chin in his throat, eyes on me, and when he spoke again, his mind was clearly on my location.

“Tried to get your mouth on me more than once when we tore at each other up last Friday, but I was in the mood to use mine. Lookin’ forward to learnin’ what you can do with yours, but like I said, baby, right now, don’t got the time.”

My only response that he couldn’t twist was to glare at him, which was what I did.

“But got time before I go for a kiss,” Merry informed me.

“Only kiss I’ll give you is tellin’ you to kiss off,” I informed him.

“Who knew warm brown eyes like the ones you got could spark that kind of fire,” he muttered as if he wasn’t even talking to me.

“Step back,” I demanded.

“No,” he denied.

I continued to glare up at him, then I realized I was not the kind of woman who sat on her ass, glaring up at a man towering over her and pinning her in. So I stood, which put me smack in Merry’s space, my breasts brushing against his abs and up his chest on my way.

They kept brushing when he didn’t move back, but I didn’t attempt escape, even to get away from the shafts of electricity this all caused at my nipples, shafts that headed south.

I glared at him from closer.

He stared into my eyes, his gaze moving down to my mouth then back up as one side of his lips curved.

He was getting off on this.

I didn’t get that and I didn’t want to get that.

I wanted this done.

“In the mood to play, Officer?” I whispered.

“Told you, sweetheart, don’t got the time.”

I shook my head but held his gaze. “Not what I mean. Single mom, all alone. Switch out her storms. Offer info to help her out of a jam. Been a while since I was in the know about these things, so tell me, what’s the price for all that? You mentioned a blowjob. You got stamina, but I got talent. Balance that out, I’m thinkin’ it’ll take more than the usual ten, fifteen minutes. We’ll give it twenty. So I can manage my time, is there more?”

I wasn’t even done talking before I learned his eyes could spark fire too.

I also learned he was in the mood to play, that being, playing me at my own game.

And doing it better.

He dipped his face close, his voice low. “Storms get me the blowjob, brown eyes. I get the intel you need, that buys me sinkin’ deep in wet pussy.”

I felt my nipples get harder at the same time something else happened to me that, if he was of a mind to take his payoff right then, he’d get what he wanted.

I hid this reaction and asked, “You want this all in one go, or you wanna spread payback out for a while?”

“Keep plenty of time open, Cher. I intend to earn a fuckuva lot more and draw it out collecting.”

I nodded, still keeping a lock on his eyes. “I get it. Girl like me, only payback expected for me to be able to give.”

That didn’t get me fire.

That got me ice.

“I hear you talk down about yourself one more time, Cher, shit will get extreme.”

That made me ice over.

“Do not hand me that crap, Merry. You come into my home and got no problem talkin’ about wet pussy right to my face tells me the woman you know me to be.”

He dipped his face even closer, to the point it felt like if I blinked, my lashes would sweep his in a butterfly kiss.

“Do not hand me your shit, Cher,” he growled. “That hang-up is yours, not mine. And how I know that is I made you come just finger fuckin’ you and talkin’ dirty in your ear, and it was the talk and not what my fingers were doin’ that took you there. I like that, a woman who can let go and let me give her that without gettin’ uptight and closin’ down on me. You liked it too, a fuckuva lot more than me. So don’t stand there handin’ me your shit when I know you’re wet for me now and I haven’t fuckin’ touched you.”

I refused to reply to that because he was right and I had no intention of confirming that information.

But it was then he hit me with a verbal blow, the intensity of which, not in my whole shitty-ass life I’d ever received.

“Christ, if I didn’t know you were worth it, I’d walk out the door and this would be done—all we got, over.”

I could stand.

I could stare.

But I couldn’t breathe.

Merry could.

He could also speak.

“Hope like fuck no one takes off with those storms while I’m gone. You think they will, move ’em into garage and leave the key under the mat. I’m switchin’ ’em out, Cher. I come back tonight and they’re done, I’ll find you, and I won’t be collectin’. I’ll be dishin’ it out, but you won’t get it until you beg for it and do that shit for a really long time.”

His words were lost on me.

I continued to stand.

I continued to stare.

But my lungs had started burning.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

“When’s Ethan’s next sleepover?” Merry bit out.

“Friday,” I whispered. “But his friend’s comin’ here.”

“Fuck,” Merry clipped. “Find a time, babe. You don’t, payback’ll stack up and I’ll have to take personal days and hole up in a hotel with you for a week. And there’s not a doubt that stick-up-her-ass church lady your ex tied his shit to won’t appreciate you bein’ gone from your kid for a weeklong fuckathon.”

That was kind of funny as well as hot.

I still said nothing.

Merry fell silent and stared at me.

Then he dealt the second biggest verbal blow I’d ever received in my life.

“Christ, you’re pretty, even standin’ there plotting my murder.”

After that, he lifted a hand, grabbed me gentle but firm at my neck, yanked me up so my mouth hit his hard but brief, then he let me go.

“Later, babe,” he said, strolling to my door. He stopped in it, turned to me, and bid his farewell by saying, “You touch those storms only to put them in the garage.”

He closed the door on that.

I stood where he left me.

If I didn’t know you were worth it…

What was I worth?

What was I worth to Merry?

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My Review

In my mind, never could I have dreamed up a more perfect ending to what has become one of my favorite series. A series that brought us the suspense and angst of a love long ago given up on in Feb and Colt. A series that gave us the push and pull and heartbreaking epic love of my favorite couple, Cal (Joe) and Vi. A series that then took us into righting past mistakes and learning to forgive, with Tanner and Rocky. A series that gave us one of the most fun couples I’ve ever read, a couple that were just made for each other, Mike and Dusty. A series that gave us the spicy Italian meatballs that were Frankie and Benny and taught us that it’s never too late to chase your dreams and maybe where you started is where you were always meant to be. And finally, a series that ended with a couple that started as friends, and together worked through their crap to discover what had always been right in front of them, with Merry and Cher. Yes, with the last final trip to The ‘Burg, hearts will be made whole once again as we say goodbye to old friends. But that’s the beauty with books isn’t it? You can always come back later to visit. They don’t mind.

I couldn’t tell him I was the kind of girl who’d never dreamed because, even when I was little, I always knew I was the kind of girl who’d be stupid to dream.

I fell in love a little more each page with Cher’s vulnerability, the one she thought she so carefully hid behind her massive wall. I fell in love again when Merry saw right through that and busted through Kool-Aid man style. I loved that he didn’t back down, and even when it seemed as if he had, he was always there, jut biding his time. Giving her space. But once things tipped over the edge for these two, there was no turning back. Books always hook me when our couple is struggling. Because it’s through these struggles that you really find out what they’re made of. Do they have what it takes to make the other happy? Can they hold their own during a storm? Are they in it for the long haul, or just temporarily for a good time? I love the road of struggles because it makes the inevitable collaboration all the more delicious. And speaking of delicious…

You got good, you don’t let it go. It lets you go, you hold on. It slips through your fingers, you pull out all the stops to get it back. You got somethin’ worth fighting for, you fight for it.

Of the many things that Ashley excels at, it’s penning the most delicious erotic scenes. Scenes that make you feel as if you were there with the couple in the book. And folks, with her characters, that is NEVER a bad place to be. I loved how uninhibited Cher and Merry were from day one. I love how they were comfortable enough with each other to explore their bodies together. I love that they held nothing back. There was something so wild and free yet grounded about them that I just couldn’t get enough of. As evidenced that when I first received this ARC I scarfed it down. The not a month later, I read it again. Yet another thing I love about this series is that for the most part, each book involves children from previous failed relationships (whether the failure be divorce or death). I love that for each person involved, this is never a hardship for them, but a bonus. I think I *almost* loved the relationship between Merry and Ethan more than I did Merry and Cher. Almost. There is something to beautiful about an adult stepping in to be a parent when they don’t have to. And in the end, blood doesn’t matter. It’s as if they were always the birth parent as the other has become inconsequential.

I’d made Ethan. I’d kept Ethan. And I made sure my boy knew he was loved right down to his soul. Which meant he loved me that way right back.

Lastly, to end this, I loved seeing more of the relationships that Merry and Cher had with our couples from the previous books. I loved seeing little tidbits that were mentioned in the rest of the series come to fruition in here. And don’t even get me started on that epilogue. EPIC. Of all the things that Ashley does best, phenomenal epilogues is at the top of my list for her. And she pulled out all the stops with this one. You don’t just get a book epilogue, you get a SERIES epilogue. And when I thought things came together throughout the book, they are mere perfection here. Like I said earlier, it couldn’t have been a MORE perfect ending. I look forward to revisiting these people I now consider family for many years to come!

A girl who didn’t dream sure as hell was smart enough never to want. She took what she could get and that was that.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Based in my hometown of Brownsburg, Indiana, The ‘Burg Series will be six books following the interweaving tales of friends, family, love and crime in a small town.

3

For You

(The ‘Burg, #1)

Amazon US

For You

Lieutenant Alexander Colton and February Owens were high school sweethearts. Everyone in their small town knew from the moment they met they were meant for each other. But something happened and Feb broke Colt’s heart then she turned wild and tragedy struck. Colt meted out revenge against the man who brought Feb low but even though Colt risked it all for her, Feb turned her back on him and left town.

Fifteen years later, Feb comes back to help run the family bar. But there’s so much water under the bridge separating her and Colt everyone knows they’ll never get back together.

Until someone starts hacking up people in Feb’s life. Colt is still Colt and Feb is still Feb so the town watches as Colt goes all out to find the murderer while trying to keep Feb safe.

As the bodies pile up, The Feds move in and a twisting, turning story unravels exposing a very sick man who has claimed numerous victims along the way, Feb and Colt battle their enduring attraction and the beautiful but lost history that weaves them together.


At Peace

(The ‘Burg, #2)

Amazon US

At Peace

Violet Winters and her daughters once had it all, but lost it when Lieutenant Tim Winters was murdered by a criminal madman.

Over a year later, during a cold winter night, cop’s widow, Violet, has to leave her warm bed to tell her neighbor to turn the music down.

And that’s when she meets sinister, scarred, scarily attractive security specialist, Joe Callahan.

She wants to deny it, but she can’t beat back the hunger she feels for Joe so she gives in again, and again, and again. Feeling it himself, Joe feeds Vi’s hunger, breaking his own rules to keep her in his bed.

Even though Violet had only one man in her life, she’s sure Joe is giving her the signals and Vi decides she’s ready to take a second chance at life and, maybe, love.

But Violet doesn’t know the dark secrets in Joe’s past, secrets so soul-wrenching, they’ve drained him dry. With nothing left to give, Joe’s determined to live his life alone.

But Violet’s husband’s murderer is obsessed with her and heartbreak again haunts the door of the Winters girls. When it does Joe is forced to face the knowledge that he can’t fight the combined pull of Violet and her daughters, they’ve gotten under his skin and filled him full to bursting.

Joe needs to win them back and put his life on the line to keep Violet safe.

But, having had it all twice, can Violet endure losing Joe?


Golden Trail

(The ‘Burg, #3)

Amazon US

Golden Trail

Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick fell in love young, hard and fast and both of them knew a beautiful life they thought would be forever.

Until Rocky left Layne, no explanation, no going back.

Layne escapes The ‘Burg only to come back years later because his ex-wife has hooked herself to the town jerk and Layne needs to make sure his sons get raised right. Layne manages to avoid Rocky but when Layne gets three bullets drilled into him while investigating a dirty cop, he can’t do that because Rocky stops avoiding Layne. They make a deal to work together to expose the dirty cop but they have no idea the strength of their enduring attraction or the sheer evil at work in The ‘Burg.

As Tanner Layne and Raquel Merrick play their game and dance around the pull that draws them together, Layne has to discover the dark secrets buried so deep in Rocky’s heart she doesn’t even know they’re there at the same time untangle a sinister web of crime so abhorrent it has to be stopped…at all costs.

And to do it, Layne has to enlist everyone, including his ex-CIA mentor, Rocky’s detective brother, the town’s unpredictable informant and Layne’s two teenage sons all the while stopping Rocky from doing something crazy and keeping their game secret so Layne won’t get himself dead.


Games of the Heart

(The ‘Burg, #4)

Amazon US

Games of the Heart

From the balcony of his house, Mike Haines can see the quiet, commonplace beauty of the Holliday farm. But what he remembers is the little sister of his high school girlfriend, Dusty, who grew up there. As a teen, Dusty had gone off the rails but when she was a kid, she was sweet, she was funny and she had a special bond with Mike. But after high school, she took off and Mike never saw her again.

Then tragedy strikes Dusty’s family, she comes back to town and Mike thinks she hasn’t changed back to the sweet, funny girl he knew but instead continued to be selfish and thoughtless, leaving her family alone to deal with their mourning. So he seeks her out and confronts her in an effort to understand what went wrong and to force her to sort herself out.

He finds out quickly he’s wrong about Dusty Holliday. Very wrong. And right after Mike discovers that, the bond they had years before snaps back into place in ways he would never suspect.

But Mike Haines had a bad marriage then he played games of the heart for a good woman. And lost. In order to protect himself and his kids, he’s cautious, he’s careful to read the signs and he’s not interested in finding a woman he has to fix.

Then he learns what happened to Dusty and he thinks she needs to be fixed. He swings, he misses and in this new game of hearts, for Dusty, Mike just got strike three.


The Promise

(The ‘Burg, #5)

Amazon US

The Promise

Since his brother’s death, Benny Bianchi has been nursing his grudge against the woman he thinks led to his brother’s downfall. He does this to bury the feelings he has for Francesca Concetti, his brother’s girl. But when Frankie takes a bullet while on the run with Benny’s cousin’s woman, Benny has to face those feelings.

The problem is Frankie has decided she’s paid her penance. Penance she didn’t deserve to pay. She’s done with Benny and the Bianchi family. She’s starting a new life away from Chicago and her heartbreaking history.

Benny has decided differently.

But Frankie has more demons she’s battling. Demons Benny wants to help her face. But life has landed so many hard knocks on Frankie she’s terrified of believing in the promise of Benny Bianchi and the good life he’s offering.

Frankie’s new life leads her to The ‘Burg, where Benny has ties, and she finds she not only hasn’t succeeded in getting away, she’s doesn’t want to.

About Kristen Ashley

I was born a middle class white child in Gary, Indiana, USA. One of the last of a dying breed. I nearly killed my mother and myself making it into the world, seeing as I had the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck (already attempting to accessorize and I hadn’t taken my first breath!). Mom says they took me away, put her back in her room, she looked out the window and Gary was on fire (Dr. King had been assassinated four days before). She remembered thinking it was the end of the world. Quite the dramatic beginning.

Nothing’s changed.

All I’ve ever wanted to do was write (well, and be the Queen of the World, but you gotta start small) and I’ve published a gazillion books and counting (and a gazillion is a lot! shoo!). You can learn about my titles that have been released or that are soon to be released in the Titles section of the website.

Even though I jump genres, there is always a theme to my books… humor (hopefully), engaging characters (again, hopefully) and romance (definitely).

My loves are movies, music, food and fashion and I partake of all of them as often as I can (the middle two more than the others, the former, which takes time I don’t often have and the latter, which takes money and I have to be careful to have enough to feed my cats). In fact, I love food so much, I like to share my good fortune so I put my recipes on offer for you on this page (see my Recipes section and don’t miss them, they’re awesome!).

I grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana and have lived in Denver, Colorado and the West Country of England. Thus I’m blessed to have friends and family around the globe. My family was (is) loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write and growing up it was large and multi-generational. We all lived together on a very small farm in a small farm town in the heartland. I grew up with Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched).

Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.

And as I keep growing up, it keeps getting better.

So here I am, thank goodness.

So, what did you think? :-)