Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tour-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: Here All Along by Crista McHugh (The Kelly Brothers #7)

Here All Along
Kelly Brothers #7
By: Crista McHugh
Releasing August 26, 2015

Can best friends become lovers while the cameras are rolling?

Movie star Gideon Kelly has always harbored a secret crush for his long-time friend and assistant, Sarah. One sizzling kiss is enough to convince him she’s the only woman for him, and he’ll do anything to prove to her they have all the makings of an epic Hollywood romance.

Sarah Holtz rose to stardom as a child only to crash and burn in her late teen years. Gideon was there to help put the pieces of her life back together, and she now relishes her life far away from the paparazzi flashes. Her need for privacy is the one thing holding her back from exploring something more with him. When a video of their kiss goes viral, she’s left wondering if he’s worth the risk of stepping back into the spotlight to become his leading lady.

Recommended for those who enjoy:
· Friends to lovers stories
· Hollywood romances
· Las Vegas weddings
· Waking up married stories
· Stories of second chances
· Sidekicks who love a good practical joke

Buy Links:  

“What’s wrong, Red?”

“What makes you think anything’s wrong?” she asked without looking at him.

“You only eat yellow M&Ms when you’re upset.”

She snapped her head up and stared at him. “You were out late last night.”

“I was dancing.” He rose from the mat and rolled it up. “I’m allowed to have fun, aren’t I? Or is that not on my schedule?”

The slight flare of her nostrils let him know he’d pushed her buttons, but she didn’t say anything.

“Don’t worry, Red, I’m still a mass of sexual frustration.”

That earned him the stink-eye. She tucked her mat under her arm and went back into the villa.

And he was stupid to follow her, even after she’d made it clear she was pissed at him. “Red?”

She spun around so quickly, he collided with her. His arms reflexively reached to steady her, and before he could stop himself, he’d pulled her against him. 

The next few seconds pulsated with a mix of fear, attraction, and frustration. Her eyes widened, and her hands pressed against his chest. But she didn’t push him away. At least, not at first. Her bottom lip trembled, and her gaze wavered between his eyes and his mouth. Then, as though she’d managed to put her shields back into place, she closed her eyes and wiggled free from him. 

Damn it! One day, she’d give into temptation. One day, she’d give him permission to prove how good they’d be together. One day, he’d be free to tell her the contents of his heart.

But until then, he had to be patient and wait for the sign that she’d be open to it all.

“Did you tell Gabe who I was?”

“What do you mean?”

She rubbed her arm and kicked at the stairs leading back into the villa. “He called me Sage last night.”

That motherfu—

Gideon dug his hands into his palms to keep from blurting out the vicious words streaming through his mind. Practical jokes, he could handle. One-upmanship was part of the acting game. But he refused to stand back while Gabe harassed Sarah. “I’ll have a talk with him when I arrive on the set.”

“No, please, don’t make a big deal about it.”

“But it obviously upset you.” He tilted her chin up until she was looking at him. “Or was there another reason why all the yellow M&Ms were missing?”

“Just be discreet. I like my life the way it is now.”

“So I’m not in danger of losing my favorite assistant?”

She covered his hand with her own and pulled it away from her chin. “Not unless I discover Mackinzie Donavan in your bed.”

The acid in her voice told him she knew about his escapades last night. “We just went dancing. Scout’s honor.”

“Then you don’t want to see what ended up on the Internet last night.” She turned and strolled back into the villa with a gentle reminder. “You’re the one who doesn’t want to give Donna Carlson anything to use against you.”


He raked his fingers through his hair and gathered up his yoga mat. By the time he went inside, she’d already disappeared into her room, so he sidetracked to the computer station Jason and Raul had set up. “What’s this about pictures of me from last night being on the web?”

Jason typed in a few words and flipped the screen around to show him.

He stared at the picture of Mackinzie straddling his lap and kissing him. The drunken nausea from last night made an encore appearance. 

Jesus, I’m in hot water.

My Review

Friends to more stories are one of my top favorites in contemporary romance, and after reading the blurb for Here All Along, I knew I wanted to grab this one up.  Right from the start, I could tell I was in for an entertaining time, and I quickly flew through this mostly fun and lighthearted read.  Even though this is part of a series, it certainly can be read as a standalone.  I haven't read any others in this series (though after reading this I've added them all to my TBR list), and I was able to enjoy this story all on its own.

Sarah is a sweet, totally put-together young woman who keeps her best friend Gideon organized and on schedule.  She wasn't always like that though, and has a troubled past that she wants to keep buried.  Gideon is a hot and sexy actor who wants more from Sarah than just a friend and assistant...but she doesn't want to ruin their friendship with anything more. Sound familiar?  That's because it's a perfect setup for just about every friends-to-more story, and with its own little twists thanks to the actor and assistant dynamic gives you a fun take on this particular trope.

There's not a lot of secondary characters, but Gabe-Gideon's co-star in his current movie-is one who adds plenty of extra fun and drama to the story.  It's hard to be sure of his motives, but in the end I found him to be a good guy.  

The one thing though that I didn't quite agree with was how Gideon handled things when Sarah has a bit of a personal crisis...I wanted to give him one of those smacks upside his head after that (I know, I'm teasing you but I don't want to give away any of the good stuff).  But while I don't necessarily agree with how he (and Gabe) went about things in the quest to convince Sarah that she and Gideon belong together, in the end everything works out...and it's an entertaining ride to get there.

4 stars for Here All Along, recommended for 18+ due to some adult language and intimate scenes.  Great writing, excellent flow and a good storyline make for a very enjoyable read.

Author Info
Crista McHugh, New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of fantasy and romance who writes heroines who are smart, sexy and anything but ordinary. She currently lives in the Audi-filled suburbs of Seattle with her husband and two children, maintaining her alter ego of mild-mannered physician by day while she continues to pursue writing on nights and weekends.
She is an active member of the Romance Writers of America (including the Greater Seattle Chapter and the Seattle Eastside Chapters), and Romance Divas.

Just for laughs, here are some of the jobs she’s had in the past to pay the bills: barista, bartender, sommelier, stagehand, actress, morgue attendant, and autopsy assistant.

And she’s also a recovering LARPer. (She blames it on her crazy college days)

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