29 August 2014

Ash to Steele Tour Stop!


Who I am and all I believe is marred with just one glance into angry, steel blue eyes. He seems to control my air, my ability to breathe. He makes me crave everything I know is a sin. Pure becomes tainted and lines are blurred. It's my fault; I'm the one who isn't strong enough. I've been damaged...broken. Breck's words haunt me...'There's a consequence for every choice you make.'


I've had so many women I can't even remember over half of their names, but none of them are mine; I make damn sure of that. I take what I desire and never look back. I don't need or want anyone, ever...not until I met Emma. Those eyes bore into what's left of my soul and her touch sears me, weakens me. I want to hate her for that. She is my ruin...my sweetest hell.


I was surprised to see that I had a personal connection to this story.  I was raised in a small town Christian family with very few adventures and the small town perception of everyone knew everyone’s business.  My husband came from a large city, is atheist and had his own ideas about life and commitment.  Through the years we made it work, and now this author has created a story that shows it can be done with respect for yourself and each other. 
Emma was the daughter of a small town pastor.  With dreams to branch out and see the world she moves to big city USA.  Trying to keep true to her values and beliefs she also attempts to find out who she is without the boundaries and ties to her family and town.  When she meets Breck it is clear that on paper he is the bad boy her parents warned her about.  It is time to decide for herself what she is going to do.  Her heart continues to work against her brain and Breck is someone she can’t pass by, little did she know that if this was Breck’s normal world, she wouldn’t even get a second glance from him.
You see Breck has his demons and beliefs that keep him in a one night stand status.  Love, attraction, oh those are for the weak men.  No he wants who he wants, on the nights he wants them and how ever he decides he wants them.  He is Alpha man extreme who just happens to own a successful business and loves his bad boy image.  When he comes across Emma, there is innocence that for the first time he doesn’t want to destroy. 
The story between them isn’t easy; things don’t fall in place for either.  They start out with the decision if they are even willing to step out of the comfort zone and explore a world that is forbidden to them.  Can Breck fit into her world of white fluffy clouds and can Emma survive the dark storm clouds he calls life.  They have to find a balance to make this work, but what they end up discovering is they are the missing pieces in each other’s lives.  Together with hard work they can feel whole, but at what price? Each is going to have to open themselves up to new ways to look at things.  Emma is going to have to become sexually comfortable if Breck can keep what he needs.  Breck is going to need to learn the art of compassion and communication if he is going to continue to build Emma up and not destroy her.
The author did a wonderful job and giving us two people and allowing us to watch them grow and mature into who they were meant to be.  As a reader I found I had to exercise forgiveness and patience just as each of them did.  I rarely change my views about a character but I ended up liking Breck and respecting Emma even more.  I really enjoyed this story and it brought back so many memories for me as my husband and I had to start out.  Learning to communicate in a way that each can understand and respect, trusting your heart when society is telling you it is wrong, coming to terms with not everything you have been taught is true for you.  These are life changing events that I felt the author addressed with elegance that made the story flow well and draw the reader in.  I would highly recommend this book. 

I found Ash to Steele to be an intensely enjoyable read. Ms. Stewart has created rather engaging characters in Emma and Breck. While the premise of the book provided a multitude of opportunities for the author to take the easy way out and produce a story full of stereotypes, she didn’t. She took the time to develop the characters fully, causing me to become invested in them and empathize with them as they dealt with some rather stress-producing situations – both good ones and bad ones.

Yes, Emma is the virginal preacher’s daughter who is immediately in lust with the forbidden fruit, but she has a fire to her I rarely see in similar leading ladies. Then we have Breck. The quintessential manwhore who has a different girl or girls on his arm every night, while trying to forget the childhood that turned him into the broken man that he is. As expected, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to Emma’s innocence. I found it interesting that he initially insists that he intends to corrupt her, but later it is her innocence that heals him in a way. Despite Breck’s reputation, we are well into the story before he and Emma FINALLY consummate their relationship and it was worth the wait. The two are well-matched and their interactions are heartwarming, heartbreaking, and entertaining to say the least – especially when you throw Gavin and Jess into the mix.

Ash to Steele is s story of salvation and redemption through love. But it’s not just love of another, it’s also finding salvation in learning to love oneself. And the author gives the couple several trials they must overcome that certainly test their love. I feel I should note that because Emma is a preacher’s daughter there is a very mild religious theme to the book. However, once you get toward the end of the book you find out why and it adds an unexpected dimension to the storyline that I appreciated – and I don’t tend to like religion mixed with my sexy fun-time reading, of which there was plenty. Ms. Stewart has penned a well-written and engaging story that I expect I will read again. She would not be remiss should she decide to write a sequel featuring Gavin (hint, hint).  

 Angrily opening my eyes, I slam my palms against the floor, not wanting to think of last night, of Emma, or how beautiful she looked without make-up and wearing those old, torn jeans and worn-out jacket.  I wanted to kiss her.  That goes against all my rules.  No kissing, no personal shit, just sex.  Lots of sex. Seeing her bare skin through the holes in those jeans made me thirst for sex.  I could taste her.  Her phantom flavor bursts on my tongue even now.  There was nothing remarkable about the modest amount of skin I saw.  Hell, the holes weren’t even near intimate areas, but seeing her tan skin made me want to see all of her, lying on the bed for me.  Just for me.  That’s another cardinal sin, none of them are mine, I make damn sure of that. 
   There’s an unending supply of women who are willing to follow the rules and service my needs, so thoughts of Emma getting in my way doesn’t make any sense.  Only pansy asses like Jason believe in love at first site, swearing that’s what happened between him and Jess.  That’s bullshit.  Love is bullshit.
   Emma is different, possibly innocent, or at least more innocent than the others.  Maybe that’s what’s screwing with my head.  I’ve grown too accustomed to women who are anything but innocent. Debased.  That’s what I prefer, what I’m used to, what I need.  There’s only one way to get her poison out of me…I will make her like the others.

Karen-Anne Stewart has always adored reading and has now fallen in love with writing. Her written works are The Rain Trilogy: Saving Rain, Healing Rain, and After the Rain, and the newly released stand alone novel, Ashto Steele. Her debut novel, Saving Rain: The First Novel in The Rain Trilogy, was a nominee for the Book Junkie’s Choice Awards, and Saving Rain and After the Rain were nominees for the 2014 RONE Awards. 

When Karen-Anne isn’t writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, hiking, and visiting new places. She fuels her addiction of creating new stories by her only other addiction, caffeine, and listening to a myriad of musical genres. Tucked away near the Blue Ridge Mountains, Karen-Anne lives with her husband, daughter, two dogs, and their cat. She plans on writing new adult romance as long as her fingers maintain dexterity.


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