BLOG TOUR ~ MORE THAN CRAVE YOU by Shayla Black

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Logical. Rich. Driven. And he wants her. . .

More Than Crave You, an all-new sexy standalone from New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shayla Black is available now!

04 MoreThanCraveYou

I’m Evan Cook—billionaire tech entrepreneur and widower. Professionally, I’ve got it all. But since my wife died, my personal life has fallen apart. Remarrying seems like the obvious answer, so I place an ad. I’m not asking for much. The ideal woman only needs to be smart, organized, pretty, and helpful—both in and out of bed—without expecting romance. I never thought to look right in front of me…but it turns out that Nia Wright, my sexy, sassy assistant, just might be the perfect candidate.

After an unexpectedly hot night together, I’m ready to stop interviewing strangers and simply marry her. On paper, she ticks every box on my list. Best of all, she’s far too sensible to fall for me. I didn’t see the flaw in my logic until it was too late. I never thought I’d lose my heart for the first time. And I definitely never imagined Nia could consume me. But she’s harboring a secret that could tear us apart. Can I prove I more than crave her before it’s too late?

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EXCERPT 

© 2018 Shayla Black
All rights reserved. 

I charge down the hall toward what might be the stupidest mistake of my life.

I move through the sea of bodies, shrugging past the Latina dancer, a few of the French maids, then bump into my assistant’s handsy dance partner. I stare him down. He looks at me blankly. One thing I realize instantly? My gaydar is absolutely silent. He’s every bit as straight as I am.

As he hovers protectively around Nia’s dressing room, I snarl and shoulder my way past him.

He grabs my arm. “Where do you think you’re going?”

“To see Nia. Let go.”

His eyes narrow. “Is she expecting you?”

No. In fact, I’m about to shock the hell out of her. I don’t know if I’ll be unwelcome, but I’m going to test Bas’s theory that she wants me. If he’s right…this could get messy really fast.

I shake him off, barrel inside the room, and shut the door. Behind me, I immediately hear the asshole jimmying the knob. I throw my weight against the portal to keep him out and lock it behind me.

Nia whirls to the sound of my intrusion, dressed in an inch of stage makeup, a silky white robe—and nothing else.

The moment she recognizes me, her mouth drops open. Shock spreads across her face. “E-Evan?”

“Nia.” I can’t find more words. I can’t do anything except stare and put one foot in front of the other. I certainly can’t defuse the anger and possessiveness I know I have no right to feel.

“What are you doing here?”

“That’s my question for you,” I growl. “Why the fuck are you taking your clothes off for strangers?”

She rears back and blinks at me. I don’t think she’s ever heard me curse. I keep the office professional, totally aboveboard. But I can’t manage decorum now when she’s breathing hard and her nipples are poking her thin robe.

She raises her chin and glares at me. Everything about her demeanor is like waving a red cape in front of a bull.

“It’s burlesque, not stripping,” she snaps. “I don’t do this for money. I do it because I enjoy dancing.”

“Yeah? You enjoy that asshole’s hands all over you, too?” Even though the logical side of my brain tells me I’m way out of line, I point at the door behind me and stalk closer to her. “You enjoy sex standing up with him?”

Her nostrils flare. Her mouth presses into a firm line. “Last time I checked, boss, I don’t have to justify my personal life to you.”

The fact she’s right only pisses me off more. “You do when your behavior reflects badly on Stratus Solutions.”

She shoots me a quelling glare. “You’ll have to do better than that. No one in the audience knows who I am. I never take off my mask and I never use my real name. Nothing I do on stage can taint your reputation.” Arms crossed over her chest, she saunters closer. “Why don’t you be honest and tell me what’s really bothering you? I know you’re not this mad simply because I was dressed a little risqué and gyrated on stage with Kyle?”

I debate the wisdom of blurting the truth. The rational part of my brain tells me to shut up, leave, and act on Monday like nothing happened tonight. Every other part of me knows that ship has sailed. My cock is especially eager to lay my cards on the table, grab Nia in my arms…and not worry about what happens next.

“You’re right. I’m mad because I think you’ve fucked him.”

She jerks as if I’ve slapped her. “Not that it’s any of your business, but we haven’t been together in almost two years. Thanks for letting me know you think I’m a whore.”

Hearing I was right royally pisses me off. Having her put words in my mouth kills what’s left of my patience, stripping away anything resembling professional civility.

I try not to squeeze her arms as I drag her close. “I never said that. Or thought it. I’m telling you that I can’t stand knowing he’s touched you. I don’t like the fact you still have anything to do with him. I don’t even understand why I’m here yelling and angry. I’m just…”

How the hell do I put the storm raging inside me into words? No clue, but I need to get it all out somehow or I’m going to explode.

“Jealous?” Soft surprise crosses her face.

Something about her confusion rips the confession from me. “Yes.”

“Because you…want me?”

I grit my teeth and try again to think through the wisdom of spilling all this to her. But I can’t keep it in. The softness of warm silk and hot woman under my palms almost undoes me. “Yes. I know I shouldn’t. I’ve spent forty-eight hours telling myself what I’m feeling is ridiculous and I can’t allow this—whatever it is—into our perfectly comfortable, efficient working relationship. But I can’t turn it off. I can’t fight it. I can’t pretend it doesn’t exist.”

“Is that what you’d rather do? Bury your head in the sand and not feel it?” She looks hurt.

Her expression makes me feel like an asshole. Nia always asks insightful questions. Why should now be different?

I shake my head. “For the first time in months—maybe years—I feel alive.”

Nia stares at me in silence, her gaze fused to mine. I swear I see a hundred thoughts whip through her head. For once, I can’t read a single one.

“Say something.” If she doesn’t soon, I don’t know what I’ll do. I don’t even know if I can be responsible for what happens next.

“Have you been drinking?”

“Not enough to drown out how much I want you.”

“In spite of your opinion about my sexual past? And what about our working relationship?”

She’s not wrong, but they’re barbed questions. I have to maneuver around them carefully. “Nothing matters to me except touching you right now.”

Before Nia can chew on my answer and remember all the reasons she should say no, I pull her against me. She gasps. The instant her soft body makes contact with my hard, aching cock, I groan and hold her tighter, cupping her face and lowering my mouth to her parted lips.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

This is no ordinary romance. This is the story of two people: one who always felt something and the other until having their nose pushed into didn’t see the other as anything other than their corporate right arm. For someone who reads mostly romance, it takes a lot to surprise me. Knowing this author has been hacking through books like most gardeners take out weeds you always know she’ll strike oil. This was certainly the case here, Evan and Nia were complex and down to earth (my favourite type of characters), Evan a billionaire tech entrepreneur is a demon in the boardroom, and yet in his personal life he’s stunted and inexperienced. Widowed only six months prior to the beginning of this book we shadow him through some of the hardest hitting scenes I’ve experienced in a very long time. He seems to see in so many shades of gray and just moves through the motions, and yet the moment his glasses are ripped off he makes such impressive strides to correct his wrongs. Never afraid to admit when he’s wrong, this is what truly makes Evan as impressive as he is.

For the many things they have in common is Nia and Evan live very different lives. She lives to the fullest and experiences as much as she can. Coming from the background she does makes Nia a fighter with a steel rod backbone and enough gumption to keep many a person literally on their toes. She’s quirky and endearing. She moves through life with her eye on the prize. She only wants to be taken seriously and to say she’s not afraid of hard work is putting it mildly. She constantly stays one step ahead of poor, hapless Evan. She’s the light to his dark. The one person he can always rely on and rely on her he does. As I said he sees her as his right arm and just like we move our arms without any real thought that’s how she operates with Evan.

For a long while I was left pondering where this story was going. When it finally stepped off the block we hurtled around the track like Usain Bolt. Evan assumes life should be organised, sorry Mr. Cook but nothing in life is ever practical or precise. His life though full of ambition is empty and bleak, so he can be forgiven for deciding to take outlandish options to correct his path. We all know only too well that dragging someone else into our lives when we’re not fit for ourselves is just asking for trouble. Nia tries to help him see the error of his ways but he just won’t see reason. Stubborn apparently is written into his DNA.

“I’m only ever honest with you”. I scratch my chin with a deprecating grin. “Sometimes to my own detriment.”
“I know.” She sounds about that. “And I appreciate that you don’t like to me about your feelings.”
“I never will, Nia. I promise.”
 

For many a chapter of this book I felt deflated and overwhelmed. Not in a bad way I hasten to add. Evan makes everything so much more difficult than it has to be for himself and in the process he drags others into the chaos. With all this turbulence came a large helping of sweat and heat. The sex scenes were off the charts, the story flowed like a well-composed piece of music. Up and down the notes until the ultimate crescendo, which thankfully wasn’t dragged out, my poor nerves couldn’t have taken any more negativity if I tried.

These two characters are meant for each other, but nobody is perfect, least of all Evan and he readily admits he’ll make mistakes but as long as they stick together they can work through them, together.

“Honey, no. You’ve made my life. Nothing would be right without you. Know why?” I shake my head because I can’t wait for her to either guess or demur. “Because I think—no, I know—I love you, too.” 

More Than Crave You is a story of the human condition. How human beings thrive and succeed on their darkest days, standing tall and strong in the face of the eye of the storm. As one of my most favourite quotes says: ‘You have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting’. This to me encompasses completely what this book is about.

On a side note: I don’t know if it was meant to but I was left pondering one small worrying detail. I wonder if I’m right. Guess with time I’ll find out. More Than Crave You is the fourth book the series. It can be read as a standalone and I did read it as such; however, I really would have loved to have met the previous characters prior to this read, but it is not necessary for everyone. Give this book a go, you will not be disappointed.

 

Meet Shayla

Shayla Black is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of more than sixty novels. For nearly twenty years, she’s written contemporary, erotic, paranormal, and historical romances via traditional, independent, foreign, and audio publishers. Her books have sold millions of copies and been published in a dozen languages.

Raised an only child, Shayla occupied herself with lots of daydreaming, much to the chagrin of her teachers. In college, she found her love for reading and realized that she could have a career publishing the stories spinning in her imagination. Though she graduated with a degree in Marketing/Advertising and embarked on a stint in corporate America to pay the bills, her heart has always been with her characters. She’s thrilled that she’s been living her dream as a full-time author for the past eight years.

Shayla currently lives in North Texas with her wonderfully supportive husband, her daughter, and two spoiled tabbies. In her “free” time, she enjoys reality TV, reading, and listening to an eclectic blend of music.

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