Monday, July 8, 2019

Only Ever You by CD Reiss Blog Tour

From New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss comes a story of friendship, romance, and growing into a love that was always there.

Rachel knew exactly what turning thirty would be like. She had a plan, after all. First college, then a climb up the professional ladder. Love, marriage, children. All of it was on the schedule.

The cheap Hollywood apartment wasn’t on the list. Neither was the string of heartbreaks. Or the effect her mother’s cancer had on her career.

It’s hard to stay practical and on point when everything takes a left turn.

Enter Sebastian, the nerd across the street. The boy she defended when he couldn’t defend himself. The best friend she promised she’d marry if life didn’t go according to plan.

Not only is he successful, confident, and gorgeous, but he also still has their handwritten marriage contract.

No one goes through with childhood wedding pacts.

That’s crazy.

But their families might just be crazy enough to rent a hall and set a date. All Rachel and Sebastian have to do is fall in love.

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Author Interview with CD Reiss

Please introduce your newest release.

Only Ever You is about a girl who planned for everything but never got what she hoped for, and a dweeb who hoped he’d to marry the girl, but never planned for it.

Rachel and Sebastian have an interesting history. They were friends as kids, but have lost touch as adults...

They’re really strangers when they reunite at 30, but they’re burdened by what they think they know about each other. Sebastian was supposed to be an artist and Rachel was supposed to be a screenwriter. They have to shake all that stuff loose before they can see each other. When they do, they’re strangers.

I think attraction between strangers is real. Sexual heat is real. But "hearts and flowers" are earned. (I know that sounds like I’m your dad telling you to mow lawns, but that’s where the magic is. Not the lawns.) In the time just before you’re struck by lightning there’s a real electricity. It’s pure potential and anything can go wrong. It’s the best thing ever.

When they were kids they made up a 'contract' to get married at 30—which is pretty much panned when they do meet up and have the most awkward first kiss EVER. How do they overcome such an incredibly uncomfortable situation?

They overcome it by running away!

Sebastian is thinking “now or never” because he thinks Rachel’s never going to think he’s any cooler than when she sees him in the office of his own company. And she isn’t ready because her whole idea of herself is tied up in what a failure she is. Neither one of them is feeling good enough about themselves to have a really hot first kiss, which is the same reason they’re not ready to get married.

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I fell for Sebastian immediately! The nerdy boy turned buff, successful businessman! I love Reiss and her style shines through in this standalone with Sebastian being a confident and dominant lover with a flair for hot, dirty talk! Sebastian is home for the holiday and runs into his old neighborhood friend and high school crush. Rachel is a wonderful character you can really get behind and root for. She's just a bit stuck and not where she hoped to be by 30. Remembering the old pact she and Sebastian made when they were teens to marry each other if neither were taken by 30, Rachel finds herself, and Sebastian just might be exactly what she needs. The two had wonderful chemistry and the story had perfect pacing! It flew by quickly; perfect, sweet summer romance!

This is a marriage pact romance, involving two childhood friends who grew up together, promised to marry at 30 if they were still single, and then didn't see each other for over a decade. As their families apply some pressure to fulfil the contract, we watch as everything comes together and falls apart.

Seb was a bullied geek at school protected by neighbour Rachel. But he is all grown up now, and out of a very difficult relationship with a woman whose religion was more important than anything else. He's successful and wealthy, but very single. So when Rachel comes to visit her family and they see each other again, he finally admits to himself at least, that she is the woman he wants, and if he needs to use the contract to get his way, he will.

Rachel is trying to make her way as a script writer, but a delay in starting her career due to caring for her mum through cancer treatment. She is behind where she planned on being, but family come first. When she thinks that her mum is sick again, she will do anything to keep her happy – but marry Seb? He is all grown up and very attractive, but enter a fake marriage when she might want a real relationship...

As they get deeper into their lies to their folks, it gets more and more complicated, but there are enough fun scenes which suggest that they are going to work this out. The fact that both of them have people in their corner to voice their concerns and hopes is effective, and Wade is a blast!

Mary Jo☆☆☆
I know people who've done this: make a pact with your bestie of the opposite sex (or same sex) to marry each other if at the ripe old age of XX both of you are still single.

In this story, that's what Sebastian and Rachel did. They grew up on the same block, had each other's back, and were determined to go out and conquer the world. However, if they didn't find the loves of their lives by the age of 30, they would marry each other.

Fast forward 15 years and both Rachel and Sebastian are actually back home celebrating the holidays at the same time, and Sebastian just turned 30. Once their moms got wind of their little pact from years ago, they go into extreme MOM mode and begin making wedding plans.

Seb and Rachel go along with it for very different reasons. Seb's always been in love with Rachel and now's his chance to get the girl. Rachel thinks her mom's cancer has returned and will do anything to make her mother happy.

There're a lot of pitfalls and some romance along the way, but the pair finally get on the same page about what they want.

The writing was good, but there was just something a little off about the characters to me.

Avid Reader☆☆☆
M/F Romance

Rachel and Seb were best friends growing up. Rachel championed Seb when everyone else liked to bully him. When they were younger, they made a marriage pact that if they were both single at 30, they would get married.

Now, when they are both back home for the holidays, when they see each other, there is an attraction but so much history, both between them and their families, that a white lie will snowball.

Rachel is worried that her mom's cancer is returning and her mom just doesn't want to bother her with the news. Rachel knows that her mom thought she interrupted Rachel's life before. So, Rachel just wants to make sure that her mom is happy. And despite not feeling great about where she is in life, getting to know Seb again at this stage in their lives is something she didn't know she needed.

Seb is successful, attractive, and still a geek at heart. He has always had a thing for Rachel, even when they were younger. And when the opportunity presents itself, he's going to jump at his chance to finally get the girl.

I think where this story went wrong for me was that both main characters were so stuck in their younger days. They didn't act like 30-year-olds. Rather, they forgot they were adults and acted more like they were still 16. The back and forth, noncommunication, and doubt in themselves made this story drag along. I wanted them to be more adult and to find their existence together. Instead, this was more of a story of mishaps than romance.

After I left her and CJ with Lucinda, I spent the weekly staff meeting wondering if Rachel was the same warrior I’d loved or if she was more the woman who’d held her laptop to her chest as if she needed protection.

I was obsessed.

I had to know.

Her text came in as I was leaving the meeting.

I need to check that we’re kidding.

Before I could finish typing a response, I caught her coming out of the bathroom with her laptop under her arm.

Alone. Me and her. Nothing between us but the question of who we were and how we fit.

“Seb, I—”

She didn’t have a chance to finish. I crowded her back into the bathroom and locked the door behind us.

“Kidding about what?” I said.

“About getting married.”

“Why would that even be a question?”

“Our parents have been in negotiations about it.”

My mother couldn’t keep herself from talking if she tried, and I was her favorite subject.

“It might be a little soon for marriage, but—”

“Soon? I don’t like you seeing what I do for a living while you’re in a glass-walled office overlooking the ocean. I mean, I’m not marriage material, and the odds are that’s never going to change.”

“I don’t see why a date’s off the table.”

“Do you know what’s going to happen if we date?”

The list of possibilities was as long as my arm. I could have counted them off, from “We decide we hate each other” to “We end up in bed.” But I didn’t, because I was still trying to figure her out.

What did she want to hear?

With her wide eyes and parted lips, what did she want? Did she have a fondest wish where I was concerned? Was she leaning forward? Was her expression soft and yielding?

My mind spent too long deciding what to say, so my body spoke for me.

I kissed her hard and was met with teeth and stiff resistance. It was a kiss I’d wanted since I’d had hairless armpits and a voice somewhere in the low soprano range. I’d dreamed about it. Fantasized about it. Thought about it so hard in the middle of the night I could practically feel it.

But never, ever in my fantasies did she push me away so hard I fell back against a towel dispenser, watching her face twist into surprised rage as the machine spit out a ragged rectangle of brown paper.

“That was—”

“Messed up. I know.”

“Then why? What is wrong with you?”

She was livid, just like she would have been. Just like she should have been.

The tiger within Rachel was in there, and my attempt to tease her out had probably alienated her. She’d be right to never speak to me again.

“I’m sorry,” I said with my hand on the door lock. “I misread you. It won’t happen again.”

I started to open the door, but she held it closed.

“If we date, my mother’s going to get her hopes up that I’m going to settle down. And I’m sorry, Seb, but if we break up while she’s in chemo, it’s going to crush her.”

“You don’t even know if she’s sick again.”

“You’re right.” She pointed a rigid finger at me as if I were her mother. “I’m going to make her tell me.”

“You’re really beautiful when you’re telling it like it is.”

She slid her hand off the door. Having been called out, the warrior was sent into hiding.

No. I wouldn’t accept that. I wouldn’t allow it.

“Let’s just go out and catch up,” I said. “Saturday.”

“Can’t. Saturday’s the soonest I can talk to Mom.”

I unlocked the door. “I’m sorry about... the thing.”

“Kissing me?”

“No, wasting paper towels. Of course kissing you.”

“Next time, give a girl a little warning.”

Next time? Her eyes darted to the door. Was she calculating the distance to her getaway? Or making sure it was closed?

“How about now?” I asked.

“Now what?”

“Fair warning. Now.”

I stepped a little closer and put my hands on her arms. Not right away. I let them hover an inch away before touching her to give her the chance to move away. A chance I was sure she’d take.

“Seb, really?”

But she didn’t move away.

Not this time. When I laid my hands on her biceps, she leaned in to me just a little. I smelled the floral lotion on her skin and a hint of cool water on her breath.

“Really.” I slid the laptop from her arms and placed it on the counter. “This is your warning.”

You’re doing this. I cannot believe you’re doing this.

“It doesn’t feel like a warning,” she said, and again—I noted—she didn’t move away.

“Flashing red lights.” My lips brushed her cheek, heading for her mouth. She felt better than I ever imagined. “A buzzer, maybe.”

“Just a kiss?” she asked, her lips moving against mine.

Before I could consummate what she was agreeing to, I was smacked by a swinging door.

“Oh!” CJ said. “I’m sorry! I was looking for you.”

Rachel snatched up her laptop and walked out. CJ raised an eyebrow with good reason, since I was in the ladies’ room. I left, and we all gathered in the hall.


“Well,” Rachel said. “Thanks for showing us your tedious financial-sector company.”

“Thank you for coming,” I said and let them walk away. I could have done or said much more, but not without getting her into trouble. She glanced back at me when they turned the corner, as if she wanted to make sure I was still there.

CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.

Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.

Reiss is frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.

If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Only Ever You by CD Reiss to read and review for this tour.

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