Series: L.A. Liaisons #1
Author: Brooke Blaine
Release Date: November 11, 2015
As the owner of Licked, an eclectic ice creamery and bar, Ryleigh Phillips doesn't have time for that love stuff. Serving up Nibble My Nuts sundaes and Drunken Sailor boozy shakes are as close to an orgasmic affair as she's had in months thanks to her expanding empire—until the night of her ten-year high school reunion.
When Ryleigh's crush, gorgeous ex-football god Cameron Mathis, comes streaking into her life (literally—streaking), she begins to wonder if she really can have it all.
Wouldn't it just figure that the moment you think life is perfect is when it falls spectacularly apart?
Enter Hunter Morgan, the contractor in charge of Licked's renovations. Devastatingly handsome, and a smartass to boot, he's got his eyes on Ryleigh from the moment he finds her passed out on his couch (yeah, that's a long story). There's just one tiny complication—he happens to be Cameron's best friend.
When the lines between relationships and friendships blur, and it's impossible to choose between two delicious flavors, what's a girl to do? Taste a sample of each? Or go out and get LICKED?
I am having a moment with Licked. Several, in fact. On replay in my head. How could I not? It has a retro-cool lady, sassy ice cream, tickle-your-funny-bone humor and not one but TWO swoonworthy, panty-melting, perfectly lickable, men. Oh, and the feels, people. It has the feels.
Please, PLEASE, don't be like me and nearly overlook this fabulous book. Because despite my cover lust (gorge) and my author curiosity (Brooke Blaine is new-to-me but I've heard many good things), I nearly got tripped up by the blurb. Triangles...not my favorite shape unless it involves some three-way action. But NEVER FEAR. This is a true rom-com (it reads like your favorite movie, no lie), where the triangle is played beautifully. For laughs, for love and for want of propelling the story. It wasn't rip-your-heart-out-and-make-you-bleed; it was oh-they're-perfect-I'll-take-one-off-your-hands.
Ms. Blaine gave me funny. Wild. Cute. A little angsty. And a whole lotta sexy. (Also, boozy ice cream cravings). Cameron and Hunter. *Sigh* I won't lie and say I didn't think about a little ménage action to make Ryleigh's choice easier but it worked this way too. Because if someone still needs a HEA, then I get another book from this excellent new series. And there are SO many options for what could come next. Ryleigh's friends...pick one, Ms. Blaine. I'm in, no question.
Why? Because Licked got me right in the funny bone—and in the feels. There was more than one watery smile (big smile, just a little water) when her sweet words, loveable men and delicious ice cream came together to give me my moment(s). So, please—PLEASE—if you've made it this far through my review, get Licked. It's wonderful.
Now, back to my moment (and replaying it over and over in my head.)
~ Review by Beth
Oh, my goodness. I have been utterly and completely charmed by this book. It's like this perfect cocktail (see what I did there?) of lighthearted, smart humor, adorable, swoony moments, and hot, hot sexy times that made my heart race and my Kindle smoke. And all those things were mixed together with some hilarious and delicious sounding ice cream concoctions—which were basically my secondary character crushes in this book. I'm not even lying. That ice cream was dead sexy.
I am a huge sucker for romantic comedies, and was drawn to this sort of unique storyline even though I was a little wary of the love triangle. Love triangles often end with me having a Kindle-smashing moment. They sort of stress me out. Not this one though! I am happy to report that this one was brilliantly and beautifully done. It was adorable, really, watching the relationships in this book develop and deepen—even the conflict never felt overly wrought.
Licked is just fun. Full of swoony moments punctuated with actual laugh-out-loud moments (and there are many), and just a teeny bit of angst, which really only serves to intensify that swoony butterflies feeling. Mostly, this book is a recipe for heart happiness.
This whole story was simply perfect. I want to gush about it for days, but it's impossible to do that without giving anything away. So, in the interest of remaining spoiler free, you'll have to take my word for it. Or—better yet—see for yourself! You won't regret it!
~ Review by Shelly
Someone was watching me.
I could feel their stare, feel a body looming over me. Maybe it was Cameron coming to kiss me awake, my very own prince come to life.
My eyelids fluttered open, a smile beginning to tip my lips as I looked up into—
Not Cameron’s face.
“Oh my God,” I said, yanking the covers up to my shoulders as a pair of eyes I’d never seen before watched me. They were dreamy eyes, like melted milk chocolate, and they would’ve been nice to fall into had they not been accompanied by a twinkle of amusement crinkling the edges.
“Mornin’, sunshine.” The gorgeous guy had a sexy voice to match, and it was then that I realized I must’ve still been dreaming.
Closing my eyes, I burrowed under the blanket and tried to fall back asleep, so that when I woke up again, I’d see the one I’d fallen asleep fantasizing about.
A deep laugh rumbled out above me. “I’m still here. Just thought you might want some coffee before Cameron’s alarm goes off and he drinks it all.”
I opened one eye. “Coffee?” I croaked.
He smiled at me then, his lips quirked up higher on one side, and my heart stuttered in my chest.
Holy hell. Who is he?
I couldn’t seem to form coherent words, so when he asked, “Cream and sugar okay?” all I could do was nod, my brain not really taking in what he was saying. He could’ve been asking me if he could dump the cream and sugar on me and I would’ve agreed in that moment…as long as he promised to lick it off. Wait, no. Bad Ryleigh.
When he headed back toward the kitchen, I sat up, still clutching the blanket to my chest, and took the opportunity to get a good look at him.
The guy was tall, though not nearly as big as Cameron, and he wore a faded pair of jeans that had streaks of what looked like paint smeared in various spots across them. A simple black tee showed off his broad shoulders and tan arms, but before I could finish my perusal, he rounded the kitchen bar and was gone from my sight.
Then it occurred to me that I was probably hot-mess city. Pulling the compact out of my purse, I looked back to make sure he wasn’t watching, and then took a peek at the damage.
I looked like the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Rubbing away the flakes of mascara from under my eyes, I cursed that I couldn’t seem to wake up like they did in movies. You know, like an airbrushed model that doesn’t have smeared lipstick, bedhead, and dried drool on the side of her cheek. When I noticed the open bathroom door near the kitchen, I grabbed my purse and heels and made a run for it.
What I saw in the mirror almost had me turning around and hightailing it out of the apartment. Holy fuck, that reflection was not gonna do.
I set about retouching my makeup—so grateful in this moment that I’m the girl who never leaves the house without her lipstick and powder—and reworked my hair into a messy ponytail. Then I brushed my teeth with my finger using the toothpaste sitting on the counter.
When I emerged, I felt not quite so horrendous. Which wasn’t a remarkable step up from ratchet mess, but it would have to do for the moment.
Wait, why had I stayed here again? And why hadn’t it occurred to me that Cameron lived with someone? A really hot someone. Damn.
The stranger making me coffee raised an eyebrow when I came to a stop by the kitchen counter, almost as though he’d heard my thoughts, but more likely because I no longer looked like I’d been hit with an ugly stick.
“Hope you like it strong,” he said as he pushed the steaming cup toward me.
Butterflies unleashed in my belly, and I didn’t trust my legs to hold me up if I had to drink my coffee under his gaze, so I sat down on the barstool before picking the mug up and blow into it.
“Thank you,” I said.
Winking, he took a sip and swallowed. “Welcome.”
The room fell into awkward silence, and I couldn’t stop my eyes from taking in every one of his features. His dark brown hair was longer in the front, swept to the side in a casual way that made me think he ran his fingers through it often.
Speaking of fingers…
My gaze traveled down to his hands, and a tingle of lust shot through me. He worked with his hands; there was no doubt about that. I bet they’d be rough to the touch…
I stopped those thoughts dead in their tracks, heat creeping to my face as I looked away. Why the hell was I checking out another guy when Cameron was asleep in the next room?
Jesus. Just drink your coffee.
The silence between us was thick, and I took a peek at him, but then regretted it. His gaze lingered on my face, intense and curious. Feeling unnerved at the way he was watching me so intently, I decided to break the tension.
Clearing my throat, I said, “So, you’re Cameron’s roommate?”
“Well, I’m definitely not his lover.”
The coffee I had just sipped came sputtering back up, and my face burned with heat as he tossed me a hand towel. I dabbed it at my mouth, wanting to crawl into a hole. “Right. Thanks.” Nothing else wanted to come out, and I had to blame the early morning hour on my lack of witty repartee. I sure as hell wasn’t about to admit he had me feeling intimidated. Think, Ryleigh, think. Suck down that coffee, let the caffeine fuel your brain, and come up with something hilarious.
Now would be good. Any day now…
“And you would be?” he asked.
Oh, of course. I’m the stranger sleeping on his couch. Brilliant.
“Ryleigh Phillips,” I said. “I went to school with Cameron.”
“Oh, right, the reunion. That was last night?”
When I nodded in the affirmative, he cocked his head to the side. “You know, if you’d been my guest, I wouldn’t have made you sleep on the couch.” He unleashed a full-wattage smile at me then as I sat there, only able to blink.
And wouldn’t you know it, right about the time I was staring at him, stupefied, would be the moment Cameron’s bedroom door opened.
You could say Brooke Blaine was a book-a-holic from the time she knew how to read; she used to tell her mother that curling up with one at 4 a.m. before elementary school was her 'quiet time.' Not much has changed except for the espresso I.V. pump she now carries around and the size of her onesie pajamas.
Flash Point is her debut solo novel, and she is the co-author of the erotic serial, A Desperate Man, with Ella Frank. The latter has scarred her conservative southern family for life, bless their hearts.
If you'd like to get in touch with her, she's easy to find - just keep an ear out for the Rick Astley ringtone that's dominated her cell phone for ten years.