Blog Tour: Totaled by Stacey Grice +ARC Review & Excerpt

Title: Totaled
Author: Stacey Grice
Published: May 19, 2014
 
Purchase Links:
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Synopsis

Bree Murphy is stuck.

As only a teenager, she was thrown into the matriarch of her Irish-Catholic family after the tragic death of her mother. Between playing mom and her job at the mixed martial arts gym, she has no time for a social life…or any life for that matter.  Now in her early twenties, she is ready to break out of the dull and boring life that she has been living in. It’s time for change…

A new Bree.

Drew Dougherty is the same.

He’s stuck, but fighting a different battle…an internal one. The memories and secrets of the day he lost both of his parents still haunts him, eating at him day in and day out, causing him to cope in the only way he knows how to.

Fighting.

But, what happens when these two worlds collide? Will they be able to fight together as one until the end or will their love be…

Totaled.

Excerpt

My heart raced, my palms grew sweaty, my skin felt flushed, and my breathing sped up. I let my tongue graze over my lips to wet them, and apparently that was invitation enough. His eyes immediately dropped to my mouth. Drew started to slowly lean in towards me, closing the distance between us, never releasing my face from his hold. Everything moved in slow motion and I knew this was the moment of our first kiss.
            Suddenly, out of nowhere, the sky opened up and it started raining. Not raining, pouring! Everyone around us (of whom I’d been unaware for the last hour) scattered like ants and we stood to run for cover with the rest of the crowd. People were frantic and crazy, squealing and sprinting for cover, bumping into us left and right. Drew grabbed my hand and pulled me with him, jogging away from the chaos in the rain. We were running in the street along the inter-coastal, in the direction of the gym a few blocks away. Already drenched, we laughed at each other, stepping in puddles and pulling each other back and forth to dodge others in our path. It felt like we were children, being playful and having fun with it, because what else could you do
at that point?
When the rain picked up, we were still a good four blocks from the gym. Drew suddenly stopped jogging in front of me and turned around to face me, a look of intensity and determination in his expression. I almost couldn't stop in time and nearly crashed into his chest. He grabbed my face with both of his strong, masculine hands and looked at me like I was a giant piece of chocolate cake and he was starving. For two seconds he stared at me. Four seconds. Six seconds. All the while standing in the middle of the street in the pouring rain. And then his lips crashed into mine. His lips were firm at first but immediately softened. He licked my lower lip, tasting me, enticing me to open for him and I couldn't dream of doing anything in that moment but exactly whatever he wanted me to do. I opened my lips slowly to invite him in and our tongues touched each other, playfully at first and then with purpose. They danced together in perfect synchronized harmony like a beautiful Viennese waltz. The waltz turned into an angry paso doble, full of passion and angst. He kissed me with urgency, like he couldn't get enough, but not with haste. He was savoring me, cherishing me. My hair stuck to my face, slick with wetness from the rain, my dress clinging to my body, soaked all the way to my underwear, but I didn't want to move. Our hands were all over the place, grabbing each other anywhere, everywhere. He held my face with one hand and reached around to the small of my back to pull me in closer to him. The substantial, hard bulge between us confirmed how much I was affecting him. I felt my core twitch and throb with a need that I’d never felt before. My romance novels were finally right about something—this aching and throbbing stuff was legit. I didn't want to stop feeling it. I didn't ever want to stop.
 Our mouths separated and I tried to take a deep breath, but he moved his mouth down to my throat and neck, kissing and licking, lapping up the raindrops from my skin, and I couldn't possibly catch my breath with him doing that. I suddenly realized where we were still outside, still in the wide open, still in the rain. He must’ve felt me stiffen, because he brought his eyes up to mine and smiled.
"Let's get you out of the rain," he said, and we started jogging towards the gym again.


My Review:

Bree is a 22 year-old woman who has taken on the role of the lady of the house. After her mother’s passing in a terrible car accident, Bree was the one that took care of her father and twin brother, Liam. Though she’s done it without complaint and enjoys caring for them, there’s a part of her that wants to be set free. She wants to go out and make a name for herself, because she’s never really had the chance to create an identity. She wants to be more than just a sister and daughter. She wants to do something else than just clean and manage the gym her father owns.

Drew also has a past filled with death. He drives to Florida looking for a fresh start. He finds himself at the very same gym that Bree’s family owns. While Drew tries to prove himself as a worthy MMA fighter, he begins to want to prove himself as a worthy man as well. 

As Bree and Drew both struggle with themselves and their situations, their connection to each other starts to breath hope and life.

This story is told from the views of both Bree and Drew. That factor really strengthened the story and made it easy for me as the reader to piece together the story and just connect with the characters. 
Overall, this was a really good debut novel from Stacey Grice. She gave her characters a lot of depth, and the detail of their thoughts and actions gave way to an easy understanding of them. I knew exactly who Drew and Bree were. I sympathized with both characters, but my heart just broke for Drew. His past was something much more painful in my opinion, and I wanted him to be able to find happiness.
While the pacing was done pretty well, I did find certain sections dragged on a bit for my liking, but I’m sure others won’t mind it.

The ending really took me by surprise. I mean shocking doesn’t even cover it! I was convinced this was going to be a standalone with a complete happily ever after, but something tells me the author has a whole different game plan for these characters.


*A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the author for an honest review. This has in no way affected my review/opinion.

My Rating: 4 kisses

About the Author

I am a mother to a beautiful five year old daughter and a wife to my best friend. Being a labor and delivery nurse three nights a week pays the bills but I have recently decided to take my hobby of writing to the next level.  Living in Florida where I was born and raised allows me to hear the waves and stick my toes in the sand whenever I want, which is vital to my emotional well-being. Completely and absolutely obsessed with good music, the lifeline to my creativity, I cannot and will not write without it. Some things that I appreciate are honesty but not cruelty, an unapologetic sense of humor, being able to make any situation fun, often dancing like no one is watching, and a good cup of coffee with enough creamer to make it blonde.
Being an astute people watcher with a judgmental mind gives me constant inspiration for my stories. My characters, like many authors, are conceived from a hodgepodge of actual people in my life, unique personality traits, real world encounters, and conversations that I have directly taken part in. Totaled is my debut novel with many more to come.

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