Monday, May 15, 2017

Maelstrom by Kass Barrow Release Blitz

When Kylor Knightley, a multi-millionaire nightclub owner, is out talent-spotting at an open mic event in London’s Limehouse district, the last thing the stiff-lipped Brit expects is to fall head-over-heels for a devastatingly handsome singer ten years his junior.

Born in New York, twenty-two-year-old Eden McFadden now calls London home and has ambitions of making it big in the capital’s music scene. In the meantime, the feisty free spirit is secretly rocking it as a stripper at a gay club in Soho. But when fate brings him and Kylor together in Limehouse, it starts a chain of events that tears both of their worlds apart.

It’s going to take some serious attitude adjustment for the smart-mouthed stripper and the arrogant British gent to find common ground, but the attraction is too strong to ignore. Sometimes you have to trust in fate and see where it takes you.

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Eden was so pumped about meeting the guy with the sparkling turquoise eyes that he couldn’t wait to tell someone. He wasn’t usually one to gossip, but he’d pulled up a chair alongside Blade, who was busy removing his guyliner. Eden was talking to Blade’s reflection in the mirror, relating the moment he’d looked down and seen the gorgeous guy staring back up at him.

Just then someone shouted, “Which of you is green?” and there was the stranger; standing in the doorway next to a security guard.

Eden sat gawking at his visitor and all the strength drained out of his body as if someone had pulled his plug. Blade nudged him. “Don’t just sit there. That’s your guy, isn’t it? God, he really is gorge!”

Eden slowly got to his feet, praying his knees wouldn’t give way, and shoved a shaky hand in the air. “That package is for me.”

The weak attempt at humour was his way of handling the embarrassment he felt because he knew that if the token had been black or pink the security guard wouldn’t have needed to ask whose it was. Everyone knew Stemmy’s tokens were black and Oberon’s were pink. But this was only the second time Eden had handed out a token. The last time he’d invited a guy backstage, his guest had been under the mistaken impression the token entitled him to instant sexual gratification, but Eden hadn’t been that into the guy.

The guard nodded at Eden’s visitor and left.

Still in just his pink briefs, Eden scurried back to his own station and rummaged around in his duffel bag for a clean top. The first thing to come to hand was his old Keep Calm and Carry On Funking T-shirt. He quickly pulled it on and rolled it down his sweat-dampened chest and abs. Then he stood by his dressing table, ready to greet his guest, with one hand resting on the table for support. Eden knew he shouldn’t be getting this worked up over someone he’d only just clapped eyes on. He had no idea what the guy was like. I haven’t even spoken to him yet. Maybe he’s just a good-looking asshole in a suit.

As the guy approached, Eden’s eyes widened in awe. It felt like he was watching the scene through a slow motion filter. He was entranced by the rhythmic sway of the guy’s narrow hips and everything else in the room faded to a blur. The guy’s suit jacket was unbuttoned and his left hand rested inside the trouser pocket, while his right arm hung loose by his side. It was like a breath of self-assured elegance had wafted into the room.

And then there was his hair. It was glorious. A flame-coloured shock of tumbling waves, its hue changed as the light danced over it, like an abstract of wildfire and scorched earth. It jarred with the image of the sophisticated city gent in the cool blue suit. It was hypnotising, the way the picture was so wrong and yet so right.

Eden could tell straight away this guy was no bit player on life’s stage. He had a starring role. You could tell from his arrogant swagger that the only rules he ever played by were his own. He was like a dream come true to Eden. A guy with “Fuck Me” written all over him and a seriously hot “Fuck You” attitude to compliment the looks.

Eden swallowed hard. Where have you been all my life?

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

This unlikely romance between an affluent London businessman and a talented young singer/songwriter/stripper is an entertaining read.

Eden is pursuing his dreams and unapologetic about his life choices and desires. He’s a believable 22-year-old who loves being in the spotlight and doesn’t spend much time worrying about the future. In contrast, Kylor’s ambitions have made him wealthy and a little snobby. He has a tendency to judge harshly and run his mouth before he thinks. I felt protective of Eden for much of this story – always a little worried that Kylor would destroy his innate joy. But Eden is stronger than he first appears and Kylor slowly learns to compromise.

The Magic Mike fan that lives inside me loved the elaborate initial stripper scene in this story. Eden’s experiences at Maelstrom felt rushed and I would have enjoyed watching him develop his act and his following rather than being told about it in a quick summary.

Plot pacing was a slight issue for me here. There were a few too many quick summaries and choppy scene changes in this story. The first few scenes were vividly described while later ones left me wanting more detail and more emotion.

I enjoyed the way Eden and Kylor’s contrasting lives collide. I found some of Kylor’s more ostentatious displays of wealth and his snobbier moments were quite grating. I loved their shared love of the Tango and the chemistry between these two is very hot.

I am being very generous with giving this book three stars. There were so many pages without dialogue that I just skimmed past them because they didn't hold my attention. If there were more scenes with the Brat Boys at Random Funk, the book might have been more enjoyable. I couldn't connect with Kylor or Eden and I didn't even feel any chemistry between them. At 82% there had only been one kiss, so I didn't even have sex to liven up the book. When sex finally came at 87%, it was implied, not even described. Everything was so slow in this book, but then in the last few percent everything was wrapped up all nice and pretty. This one missed the mark for me.

Overall I enjoyed this book, and found the humour of these two unlikely people meeting each other. And having met, how many times can they misjudge things before succumbing to the chemistry they both recognised from the first time they caught each other's attention.

There were a number of things which pulled me out of the plot, which I found frustrating. I got a little bored by the descriptive text about London, but I appreciate that may have been because it is familiar to me. I generally prefer the story to be front and centre. That said, more detail about the clubs would have worked for me, especially Eden's first night with the band – it seemed like a big hole in the story that the way that went was ignored, given that it was quite key to what happened next.

Kass Barrow lives 100 miles north of London in a small town in the farming county of Lincolnshire. Despite always having lived in the same area she has seen a fair bit of the world, from the eerie innards of the King’s Chamber in the Great Pyramid, to the majestic vistas that come with snowboarding in the Rockies.

However, none of these life experiences prepared her for the emotional roller-coaster ride of penning a novel. Now she has become so accustomed to having four handsome gents in her life – her husband, her dog and her two main characters – that she can’t imagine life any other way.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Maelstrom by Kass Barrow to read and review for this tour.

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