Monday, August 3, 2015

Release Blitz-Review, Excerpt and Giveaway: Caught in Us by Layla Hagen

Title: Caught in Us

This is the third book in the Lost Series, but it is a standalone since it tells the story of a different couple.

Description (Caught in Us)

Dani Cohen knows Damon is trouble the second he walks in during senior year. He has bad boy written all over him. . .from his arrogant smirk to his perfectly toned abs. He is arrogant, intense, and rebellious. 

Dani has her future all planned out. She’s not the type to fall for a bad boy, no matter how panty-melting his grin is or how shamelessly he flirts, but something about Damon draws her in, awakening a desire she’s never felt. Slowly, she uncovers the secrets Damon hides: underneath his arrogance lies a tortured soul, his flirting smile masks despair.

Damon arrives in Dani’s life against his will. Carrying the scars of a dark past and facing an uncertain future, he knows he should stay away from her, but can’t. Her innocence consumes him, as does the desire to indulge in the passion igniting deep inside her. 

An all-consuming bond blooms into a reckless love. But when mistakes from the past threaten their already fragile future, can their love survive?

A steamy and emotional full-length, standalone love story from the USA Today Bestselling author of Withering Hope.

"You're not all that bad for a rich girl," he says.

This snaps me out of my daydreaming. Or, well, lip-dreaming. "You say it like I should take it as a compliment."

"It is a compliment. You're a breath of fresh air." He shifts on his side, facing me. 

"So are you. You're different from everyone I know."

"Is it because I'm devastatingly good-looking?" he says mischievously. 

I roll my eyes at him. "It's because you are extremely modest. We should go back. You know, hanging around with me is going to ruin your reputation."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"You didn’t notice the way people looked at us last Friday? Or today in the cafeteria?"

"So what?" His eyes widen, and he grins. "You're ashamed people might see you with me?"

I gasp slightly. "That's not true."

"You're afraid they'll think we were secretly making out," he teases.

"They will not think that." Heat surges in my cheeks. 

"Hazel seems to think exactly that." 

I can't be blushing. I can't be blushing. Damon eyes one of my cheeks and then the other. His grin widens. Of course, I'm blushing. 

"You'd like to make out with me? You just have to say it. I assure you I'm a perfectly good kisser." He leans into me, his eyes scanning me playfully. Does he know what he's doing to me with his dark green eyes and his annoyingly beautiful lips? He, who must have touched tens of other lips with his, and toyed with as many hearts? My heart beats so fast I legitimately fear I might faint. He's just joking, Dani. 

"Not every female around wants to kiss you." How I muster the wits to say the next words, I'll never know. "You're not as good-looking as you think."

"But you admit I'm good-looking?"

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't deny it," he says.  

"Please go work your charm on someone else who is more experienced with these games. I'm not." 

He pulls back. "What do you mean?"

"We have to go." I take my plate and jump to my feet. He catches up with me on the stairs, grabbing my arm. 

"You've never been kissed?" he asks. 

I debate lying for a second, but I've never been any good at it. "No, I haven't. Go ahead. Laugh."

He's not laughing. "Why?" he seems genuinely confused, and I almost laugh. He reminds me so much of James right now, who is always completely bewildered by the fact that no guy is into me. 

"I don't think I'm anyone's type here at school," I explain. 

"Figures. I knew most here are idiots; I didn't realize just how much."

The implication in his words fills me with warmth and relief: that there is something wrong with them. Not with me. 

"So no one was lucky enough to taste your lips," he says, and then does something that petrifies me. He runs his thumb over my upper lip, then my lower one. My thighs involuntarily press themselves together as heat billows between them. A whiff of breath rushes through my lips.   

"We should go to class," I murmur.

"Sure." A smile plays on his lips all the way to the class. We attract stares, just as I predicted. This time, he does notice them. Leaning into me, Damon says, "You were right. They are looking at us, but I was right too."

"What do you mean?"

"They are convinced we spent the entire break making out. And if you continue to blush so deliciously, I'll wish we had." 

My Review

First, I have to say that I have not yet read any of the other books in this series.  But, I can safely say that Caught in Us is definitely able to be read as a standalone, as even though I haven't read the other books, that didn't affect my enjoyment of this book at all, and at no time did I feel lost or not understand anything.

Next, can I just say how I want to scoop Damon up and just keep him for myself?  Not only is he a bad boy/fighter type, he's also a sweet, loving type who doesn't take crap from anyone (and I mean ANYONE) and who can see right through those fake high school girls who just throw themselves at him.

I love that he and Dani slowly become friends, becoming comfortable with each other before things start to heat up between them.  The way they interact with each other feels natural and unhurried, and the two of them just fit together like they were always meant to be.  It's sweet with a bit of excitement, and will definitely put a smile on your face as you read.

The time between when they have to part in high school and the point they come back together in college is really the only part of the story I would have liked to see expanded on, as it is mostly glossed over in a summary-type format (I'm assuming so the jump to the next interaction point between Dani and Damon can arrive more quickly in the story).

Once they do come back together in college, things really start to steam as all the pent-up sexual tension and feelings from their time apart reach the boiling point.  The passion between them is scorching, and only grows as time goes on.  With a bit of suspense when a part of the past comes back to threaten them, you'll get plenty of excitement to go along with the romance and heat.

A fantastic 4.5-star read for me (that half-star is from the played-down time period between high school and reuniting in college), I found Caught in Us to be quite the engrossing read, and would definitely recommend it to fans of new adult contemporary romance.  18+ for the adult intimate scenes.

Previous books:

  • Lost series:

Lost (FREE prequel novella to Lost in Us)

Lost in Us (James and Serena’s story)

Found in Us (Jessica and Parker’s story)

  • Standalone full-length romance: USA Today Bestseller Withering Hope

My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author.
I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.
I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough


Blitz-wide giveaway (INTL)

$25 Amazon Gift Card

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