Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Release Week Blitz Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Unravel by Calia Read

By: Calia Read


Six months ago, I was happy. I was simply Naomi Carradine. 

One month ago, I was admitted into a psych ward. 

Yesterday, Lachlan visited me. Kissed me. And told me that I’m starting to lose my mind. 

Hours later, Max haunted my thoughts, reminding me I’m not crazy and that he needs my help. 

A few minutes ago, I drifted further from reality, trying to unravel the past. 

And now...everyone thinks I’m insane. But, I know he's real, and I know he needs me. 

Do you believe me?
 *ARC provided by author for an honest review*

That is all I kept saying for probably 5 minutes after I finished this book. It was so full of twists and turns, it was a total mindfu*k. And by the end when all the pieces fell together, all I could say I think on some level I knew where it was going while reading, but then again I really had no clue. 

And unfortunately, that is all I can really say without ruining the book for anyone. It is one of those that the slightest little thing could unravel <---(like that, don't ya?!) the whole plot line. All I can really say, is if you like books that have you on the edge of your seat until the very last page, one that keeps you glued to the pages trying to figure out what the heck is going on, Unravel is just what you are looking for. 

Kudos to Ms. Read for giving us that something "different" that we all crave in our books! 
Tonight, I represented my own family. My parents were successful in their own right, yet not on the scale of Lana’s family. They were away for the summer, touring Europe. One week would be spent in Italy, the next in the Bavarian Alps, then off to Prague. I was staying with Lana for the entire summer.
     I grabbed champagne from a waiter passing by and held it away from my body, knowing that in seconds, someone would accidentally bump into me and I’d spill it on my dress. 
     The tent was filled to capacity, yet they were still letting people in. I weaved in and out of the crowd, trying to find a single spot that would give me a few inches of space to myself. There was none. I opened my mouth to say something to Lana, but she wasn’t next to me. I turned in a circle, standing on my tiptoes to find her, but it was useless. The crowd had broken us apart.
     “Naomi!” Someone called out.
     I turned around.
     The man walking toward me was Patrick, a friend of my parents. He was bald with gray hair growing out on the sides. He was like most people there and was filthy rich, which gave him power. But he had ruddy cheeks and a big smile on his face, and that made him approachable.
     “Have you met the host of tonight’s party?” he asked.
     “No, I haven’t.”
     “We need to change that!” Patrick turned in a full circle, on the prowl for Max. Finally he gave up, cupped a hand around his mouth and shouted out for the host. Most of the people around stopped talking long enough to glare at us. Patrick was oblivious and sipped his drink. “That boy … he’s something else.”
     Anyone younger than thirty was dubbed ‘that boy’ by Patrick. So this Max couldn’t be too old. But as curious as I was to meet this mystery host, I had to find Lana. She was the only reason I was there.      “You know, I don’t have to meet him,” I said. “I’m looking for L -”
     “Nonsense,” Patrick interrupted. “It will only take a few minutes.”
     He continued to scan the crowd.
     “He’s my stockbroker now and it was the best damn decision I’ve made in years!” Patrick said absently. “I had my reservations … yes, I did. Why should I trust this boy to help me invest? But he’s proved me wrong!”
     Patrick laughed and finally looked at me.
     I smiled politely.
         I looked over my shoulder because that’s all I planned on giving this Max. A passing glance, maybe a polite wave hello. That was all.
         But that’s not what happened.
         What happened was that I looked once and never turned away. I don’t even think I blinked.
         There was nothing old about Max. Nothing at all.
         He was tall, around six-foot-two. With that height I expected him to be lean, but his white, oxford shirt molded against his shoulders. The sleeves were rolled up to his elbows, and I saw the bluish veins that traveled from his wrist, up his strong forearms. His posture was relaxed, legs crossed, hands tucked into his black dress pants, as he listened to the man next to him talk.
         I could tell you all about the features that made him textbook handsome. I could, but I hardly noticed them myself. All I noticed was the force of his confidence. It gleamed in his eyes, in his wide smile.
         The longer I stood there, the more the room felt like it was closing in on me.
         I stood on my tiptoes, peered around a shoulder and took him in.
         A pretty redhead leaned in close to him. He smiled at her and scanned the crowd. The whole time I had been staring at him he’d been completely unaware, but then he caught me. Instead of looking away, I boldly stared back.
         His brow lifted and his lips curved up into a sexy smirk. He moved away from the table and took a step forward in my direction.
         That’s it. Come closer, I beckoned with my eyes.
         That smile was for me. He looked right at me. Someone bumped into me, muttered sorry and I waved them off, refusing to look away from him. I felt possessed. I couldn’t look away. Frissons of excitement flowed through me as he walked toward me. If I was feeling this way with him clear across the room, what would it be like standing inches away from him?
         “Come here, my boy,” Patrick said.
         I jumped and looked over at Patrick. I’d forgotten he was there. Actually, I’d forgotten about everything. Forgotten about the music and laughter and the roomful of people.
         “Have you met Naomi?”
         I met his gaze head on. I knew I looked calm and in control, but past my dress, my flesh, directly behind my ribs, my heart was pounding like a drum.
            Just breathe, Naomi. I told myself. He’s just like every other male.   
         “No,” he said. There was a playful gleam in his eyes. “I haven’t.”
         He held out his hand. He gave me an intimate smile that made me question if we’d met before. Goosebumps broke out. But I would’ve remembered that smile. I would have remembered this feeling. We hadn’t met before.
         “Nice to meet you,” he said.
         That. Voice.
         It was deep, almost hypnotic. He had a southern drawl. He pronounced every word slowly. Just one simple word coming from his lips sounded forbidden.
         He smiled at me. It was a slow smile that tugged at his lips and traveled all the way to his eyes. I felt every inch of that smile pierce my heart.
         I shook his hand.
         My blood was starting to hum. His grip tightened. I went to pull away, but he held on a few seconds longer. Our gazes held. I couldn’t remember a time I’d ever been looked at like that. His eyes pierced me with one thorough look. I felt it go through my body.  
         I finally found my voice. “Likewise,” I said.
         This is where he asked me for my last name. And I gave it to him. He asked more questions and I answered. A moment later I left with Lana.
         Mission accomplished.
         Game over.
         We all go on with our lives.
         Except that never happened.
         “Naomi,” he said and I knew I could get used to my name coming out of his mouth. “Naomi, are you having fun tonight?”
         “Am I having fun?” I mused and looked down at my empty glass. My hands were shaking. “Well, I was.” The waiter came by. I swapped my empty glass for a new drink and smiled at Max. “Never mind. Everything is better now.”
         He crossed his arms and gave me a devastating smile.
         Everyone’s always told me that my smart mouth gets me into trouble and they’re probably right. But Max didn’t seem to mind. In fact, it seemed to be the one thing that kept his eyes riveted on my face.
         He took another step forward and tilted his head. “What do you think of the party?”
         I took a step closer. “I don’t think you should be asking me that.”
         I shook my head and smiled. “Look over there,” I pointed
 toward an overweight, balding man in the corner. Max turned and his shoulder grazed mine. We both watched the man lift his glass, toasting to his friends. They drank and their laughter rang out around the tent. “I think he’s having enough fun for the entire crowd.”
         Max smirked.
         I looked over my shoulder and found my next target. Lana’s mom. “Take that beautiful lady.” She was directly in front of him, but he leaned in and peered closely at her. His jaw brushed against my hair. I sucked in a sharp breath and continued to talk, like I wasn’t feeling a thing. “She lives for these parties where she can be the center of attention. And she’ll stand there, complaining to her friends that the maid didn’t pick up her dry cleaning on time and the gardener didn’t prune her rosebushes.” On cue, the ladies around Lana’s mom leaned in and patted her arm. “And now her friends are giving their condolences because there’s nothing more tragic than unhealthy roses.”
         He looked down and smiled at me. There was a pull between us. Talking to him came naturally. It was just so easy.
         “You think that’s what they’re talking about?”
         “I know so,” I said confidently.
         “But you’re not like them?”
         Max moved in just a bit closer. He smelled amazing. I couldn’t tell if it was cologne, body wash or his own personal scent, Eau de Max. Either way, I wanted to bury my face in his neck.
         I blinked away the image and processed his question, but I couldn't form a coherent answer. Standing this close to me I could see everything. His thick black lashes, the flecks of brown in his eyes, and the tiny scar below his right eye.
         I wanted to keep looking at him, finding things that most people would never notice. But he stood there, eyebrows lifted, waiting for me to answer.
         I raised the glass to my lips and took a drink. I needed all the liquid courage I could get. He followed the line of my jaw, curve of my throat, like he was transfixed. There was no champagne left. I stared down at the empty glass. “Other than my questionable drinking habits, no, I’m not like the people here.”
         I lifted my eyes and prayed like hell that he found my comment funny. But he was staring at me with a thoughtful look on his face. A mixture of lust and fear. I couldn’t really blame him. How many times in your life do you experience this level of attraction?
         I blinked and the white lights strung above us blurred yellow. Conversations around us phased out. A curtain closed around the two of us. We were in our own world. 
         His eyes traveled slowly across my body. I took care to make sure I was dressed conservatively for tonight’s party, but Max was quickly stripping me, making me feel like my pale pink, cap-sleeved dress was non-existent. My blood went straight to my head.
         I reached out and grabbed onto the nearest chair. 
         And then someone cleared their throat and we both realized that Patrick was still standing next to us.
         All the noises that were droned out before were now on the highest volume. A wave of voices drifted around me. Music played. Waiters moved in and out of the crowd. A person bumped into me.
         Our moment was over.
         “I should get back to my guests,” he said slowly.
         “You should.”
         He stayed rooted in place. And so did I.
         He finally took a step back. “I’ll see you soon.”
         There he went.
         I found Lana a few minutes later. She was standing close to the bar with an anxious look on her face. When she saw me, her face lit up.
         “There you are,” she said with relief.
         “I saw him.”
         Lana frowned. “Who?”
         “The host. Max.”
         “Oh yeah?”
         I nodded. My heart was still pounding. My head still spinning. 
“So what do you think of him?” she asked.
         “He’s something,” I muttered.
         Max was standing close enough for me to point out. He was talking to a guest. Completely unaware that I was staring at him. I took advantage of the situation and nudged Lana.
         “There he is,” I said.
         Lana looked in his direction. She blinked and then looked back at me. Maybe my feelings showed in my eyes. Maybe that’s what made Lana’s smile fade. “What about Lachlan?” she said.
         My spine stiffened and the euphoria I felt seconds ago faded. It felt like my ears had popped and now everything was muffled.
          “What about Lachlan?” I replied.
         Lana was my best friend. She knew everything there was to know about me and she knew how strong my feelings for Lachlan ran.
         “Why did you bring him up?” I never gave her a chance to answer. “He’s not here,” I said firmly. “So let’s not talk about him.”
         Lana stared at me a moment longer before she nodded. “Okay.”
         She didn’t push to know what passed between Max and me. But if she did, she would’ve understood my reaction. She would’ve seen my fear. No guy had ever made me feel this way except for Lachlan Halstead. 
         I kept all the memories I had of Lachlan at bay, hoping that I was strong enough to hold them back long enough to leave the party.
         The plan was to stay for fifteen minutes, but I couldn’t seem to step out of the tent and walk away. So we stayed. We talked to her parents. I pasted a smile on my face. Danced for one song. And whenever Max was close by, my body came alive, blood roaring in my ears and my heart dancing in my chest.
         The evening was coming to a close. Most everyone there had a slight buzz. I was one of them. But I couldn’t tell if it was from Max or the champagne.
         Max stepped onto the stage, where the musicians sat. He looked over the crowd and tapped his wine glass. Conversations dwindled. Every head turned in his direction.
         He lifted his glass. Everyone did the same. Everyone but me. Mine was pressed against my chest.
         “I’d like to thank everyone for coming…” What did he say after that? I don’t know. I was watching everyone around me. They were all falling under his spell. Max pulled people in with his smile, his charm. He knew it was his strength and he used it to his advantage.
         I swirled my drink, watching him, wanting to know just how much power he had to slide into this secret circle so quickly.
         “I hope to see everyone very soon.” His eyes made contact with mine. I felt a jolt go straight through my body. My first instinct was to retreat, like a wild animal encountering something dangerous.
         But he looked away and gave the crowd his charming grin. “Now enjoy the rest of the night!”
         Everyone murmured their agreements and drank their wine. But Max didn’t. His eyes found mine and he tipped his wine glass in my direction.
         A silent toast.
            Get ready, that one tilt of his glass said. His lazy smile disappeared and his eyes became feverish the longer we looked at each other.
         I mimicked his actions and tipped my glass.
         I had no idea what I was in for. 

Calia Read lives in Germany with her husband and their four kids.
She's currently working on the third book in the Sloan Brothers Series, Ruin You Completely.




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