Today we are thrilled to be on tour with AUDITION, a steamy new stand-alone novel from New York Times bestselling author Skye Warren
and USA Today bestselling author Amelia Wilde
Blood and sweat. Bethany Lewis danced her way out of poverty. She’s a world-class athlete… with a debt to pay.
Joshua North always gets what he wants. And the mercenary wants Bethany in his bed. He wants her beautiful little body bent to his will.
She doesn’t surrender to his kiss.
He doesn’t back down from a challenge.
It’s going to be a sensual fight… to the death.
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Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse at KFF
Audition is a romantic suspense spinoff from the North Security Series, absolutely my favourite trilogy this year. Now it’s Liam North’s brother, Joshua’s turn to tell his story. In previous books, I loved the rapport these two reserved guys had, especially Josh’s on-the-job seriousness while bodyguarding Liam’s lady. Also, there was something in the air with him and Bethany. Yep, Warren teased her readers and has now delivered a readworthy standalone with co-writer, Amelia Wilde.
‘Bethany is an open book, with all her defiance and sadness and fight right there under the surface.’
I’m a great fan of Warren’s storytelling, so I was curious to see how it would develop with this new writing duo. I can’t say I saw a noticeable difference. The plot flows at a steady pace, the banter’s as good as ever; however, there’s more backstory than usual. Josh and Bethany’s stories could easily have been a duet and I’m eternally grateful it wasn’t. There was never a moment when I felt like I was missing any of their protagonists’ personal details.
‘The Josh I knew five years ago never would have done this. He would have broken before he bent.’
Wow, it’s totally understandable that Josh has too much emotional baggage to have a relationship. Making it virtually impossible for anyone to get close to him, he’s the first one to admit that his heart is out of bounds. So the question I asked myself was would Bethany be able to break through his walls without losing him forever. And will Josh give in to the one and only woman who stirs his emotions? The signs of sexual tension simmer off the pages; however, taking the next step could have dire consequences.
‘We belong to different worlds. His is sharp enough to cut me. Mine is already in pieces.’
Only a few people close to both of them are aware that their scars run deep, how utterly hopeless and tragic their pasts were. And although it does take a while for Josh to open up to Bethany, she can see through him. I loved her tenacious and ambitious persona; her inner strength and will to survive moulded her into the woman she is today. On the other hand, Josh is so obstinate, I didn’t know whether to throttle or hug him! But one thing is for sure, he will put his life on the line to protect her.
“It’s you. You’re the one she dreams about.”
We meet up with Bethany’s infamous brother and sweet but rather peculiar grandmother again…The advice she gives to her granddaughter not only had an impact on me, but also made me smile. Selfishly thinking, I would have liked to have learnt a tad more about her brother’s dirty business, an individual who’s beyond vengeful and the choreographer. Snippets of the performing arts trivia at the beginning of every chapter was a welcome addition, and if you like angsty slow-burn romances, this book is for you! Bravo to the authors!
“Whatever’s troubling you, it’ll look better in daylight. Sleep, child. Don’t fight your demons in the dark.”
© 2019 Skye Warren and Amelia Wilde
All rights reserved.
I open the door, expecting to see a couple of rough-hewn bastards fighting or training. They might even take a swing at me. We’re all a bunch of army bastards, more comfortable using our fists than our words.Instead I’m struck by the sight of a body in motion, but not in violence.She’s dancing. Grace. Strength. And completely inappropriate to this place—desire. It’s nothing so base as tits and ass, though I’m sure hers are lovely. No, it’s the sweep of her calf and the indent at her waist. The lift of her chin.
I could not be more shocked if I had been punched. Or shot.
It feels a little bit like being dunked in lava, watching her dance. I’m immobile in the doorframe of the warehouse. My sanity is one step behind me, utterly gone. I’m seeing visions. She can’t be real. I don’t even want her to be real. This kind of beauty doesn’t belong in the goddamn gutter. A pale pink leotard against the dinge-dark hollow. Satin ballet shoes pushing into the dirt. Slowly, very slowly, my sluggish mind searches the perimeter. Alone. We’re alone. If anyone had wanted to shoot me, they’d have had plenty of time. An eternity while I’d been staring.
Her spin slows, like a top that’s run out of momentum. Dark eyes meet mine. Surprise. A flash of something else—anger. She drops to flat feet. No longer a goddess, a blur. She becomes a woman. “No,” she says. Then again, “No,” with such force I glance behind me in case someone’s charging at her wielding a knife. The shipyard is empty. It’s only my company she’s objecting to.
Well, you can’t fault her for taste.
“Normally I have to say something for women to hate me,” I say, strolling into the warehouse, pretending my heart doesn’t thud at the sight of her lithe body. Pretending my cock isn’t a breath away from rock-hard. “I have to say something about their tits or their ass.”
Her eyes narrow, but she doesn’t seem particularly shocked by my crude language. No, she wouldn’t be. Not in this place. She would have heard much worse. “I told him no more guards.”
“You told who?”
“Who else?” she says. “Your boss.”
My boss? I work for the US government. My job is to drive around godforsaken deserts and pray I don’t get blown up by a bomb buried underground. If I play my cards right, I might move into special operations. That’s what was implied before I went on leave. Go along with what Caleb Lewis offers. Collect information. Report back.
It’s a chance to be somewhere other than the bottom rung. Maybe the only chance I’ll ever get. Which means I have no business being interested in this girl. She probably isn’t even eighteen. “My boss,” I repeat, my voice flat.
“Isn’t that why you’re here? To guard me?”
“Why don’t we do this—you dance again. I’ll stand here, but if anyone attacks you, I’ll just let them have at it. No bodyguards for you.”
She’s not amused. “The guards aren’t there to protect me. You’re here to keep me in the warehouse or keep me at home. Make sure I don’t wander away. Make sure I don’t talk to anyone.”
“You’re talking to me.”
“You tell Caleb we had a deal. And it doesn’t include some—” Her narrowed gaze sweeps down my body, as if she’s only now noticed that I have a body. “Some overmuscled asshole on steroids.”
I put my hand over my chest. “Direct hit. I’m wounded you think I’d resort to steroids. These muscles were earned the old-fashioned way, thank you very much.”
She snorts, which somehow sounds feminine and delicate. “I’m sure you do much worse things than steroids. And there is no way, absolutely no way, that you’re going to be my new guard, so tell Caleb he can forget it.”
“Would it put your mind at ease to know he didn’t send me?” Though I’m curious how he’s connected to her. We enlisted at the same time. Went through basic at the same time. We’ve never been close, really. When we both had leave, I was surprised he offered for me to hang out with him in New Orleans. I accepted because I have nowhere else to go. At the time I had no idea that I’d be approached by some special department to gather intel for them. Doesn’t take a genius to figure out Caleb’s into some bad shit.
“Right,” she says, unconvinced. “So you’re standing in the one warehouse that doesn’t contain anything illegal because…?”
“Total coincidence. I was looking for the illegal stuff.” Which means I have no business staying to chat with this woman, no matter how compelling she looks with that notch between her eyebrows. She looks goddamn fierce. “Honestly.”
A roll of her eyes. “Tell my brother he doesn’t need to waste time and energy watching me. I’m staying out of trouble.”
Her brother. Jesus. If she’s Caleb Lewis’s sister, then she’s not staying in trouble. It won’t be a clean shot that brings him down. It’ll be a grenade launcher that hits him—metaphorically speaking. Or literally speaking. Everyone in his vicinity will end up in jail or dead. That’s inevitable.
And she’s right here.
Skye Warren is the New York Times bestselling author of dangerous romance such as the Endgame trilogy. Her books have been featured in Jezebel, Buzzfeed, USA Today Happily Ever After, Glamour, and Elle Magazine. She makes her home in Texas with her loving family, sweet dogs, and evil cat.
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Amelia Wilde wrote her first story when she was six years old, a narrative strongly inspired by The Polar Express. When she was nine, she wrote her first novel-length work, all in one paragraph.
Now, Amelia is all about that love. Her romances feature unique, independent heroines and alpha heroes who are strong of heart and body. Readers have described her work as “emotional,” “intense,” “phenomenal,” and “like a child scribbled with a crayon,” which she takes as the highest praise.
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