Title: Giving it Up
Author: Amber Lin
Publisher: Loose Id
Release Date: June 19, 2012
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Allie prowls the club for a man who will use her hard and then ditch her. Hey, it's not rape if she wants it. Instead she finds Colin, who looks tough but treats her tenderly, despite her protests.
He tempts her, but kindness and a few mindblowing orgasms aren't enough to put her back together again. Allie has no hope for a real relationship. Two years ago her best friend betrayed her in the worst possible way – she’d be stupid to trust a man again. Besides, she has her daughter to think of, the only good thing to have come from that dark night.
But when her rapist returns, threatening her sanity and custody of her daughter, Allie turns to Colin. Under his protection and patient touch, Allie begins to heal and learns to hope. Colin’s no saint, though, and his criminal past draws danger of its own. Allie must fight to protect her child and the man she loves, hoping her newfound power will be enough to save them all.
About the Author:
Amber Lin writes erotic romance with a dark, gritty bent. Think urban fantasy without the paranormal element and with more sex. On a more personal note, she’s married to her high school sweetheart, mother to a kid smarter than she is, and she spends her nights writing down dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good.
There’s a certain sultry walk a woman has when she’s bare that can’t be faked. No hose and no panties. The nakedness under my skirt was as much about keeping me aroused as it was about easy access.
I’d perfected the art of fuck-me clothes. A surprising number of men asked me out, even at a grungy club on a Saturday night. Cute little college girl, they thought, out for a good time. I saved us all time by dressing my part.
Tonight’s ensemble consisted of a tight halter and short skirt with cheap, high-heeled sandals, bouncing hair, and bloodred toenails. The scornful looks of the other women didn’t escape me, but I wasn’t so different from them. I wanted to be desired, held, touched. The groping fingers might be a cheap imitation of intimacy, its patina cracked with rust and likely to turn my skin green, but they were all I deserved.
My gaze panned to the man at the bar, the one I’d been watching all night. He nursed a beer, his profile harsh against the fluid backdrop of writhing bodies. His gray T-shirt hung loose on his abs but snug around thick arms.
His expression was unreadable, but I knew what he wanted. What else was there?
He glanced over but didn’t hit on me. I didn’t know why I kept tabs on him either. I wasn’t exactly discerning. I was trolling for sex, not a life partner. There were plenty of men here, men whose blackened pasts matched my own, who’d give it to me hard.
A woman approached him. Something dark and decidedly feminine roiled up inside me.
She was hot. If he wanted to score, he probably couldn’t do better, even with me. I tried not to stare. She walked away a minute later—rejected. I felt unaccountably smug. Which was stupid, since I didn’t have him either.
Maybe no one had a chance with this guy. I was pretty enough, in a girl-next-door kind of way. Common, though, underneath my slutty trappings—brown hair and brown eyes were standard issue around here.
I glanced up to see a cute guy wearing a sharp dress shirt checking me out. Probably an investment banker or something upstanding like that. Grinning and hopeful. Had I ever been that young? No, I was probably younger. At twenty-two, I felt ancient. The world had already crumbled around me and been rebuilt, brick by brick.
“Sorry, pal,” I said. “Keep moving.”
“Aww, not even one dance?”
His puppy-dog eyes cajoled a smile from me. How nice it might feel to be one of the girls with nothing to worry about except whether this guy would call tomorrow morning. But I was too broken for his easy smile. I’d only end up hurting him.
“I am sorry,” I said, wistfulness seeping into my voice. “You’ll thank me later.”
Regret panged as the crowd sucked him back in, but I’d done the right thing. Even if he were only interested in a one-night hookup, my sex was too toxic for the likes of him.
I turned back to the guy at the bar. He caught my eye, looking—if possible—surlier. Cold and mean. Perfect. I wouldn’t taint him, and he could give me what I craved. Since tall-dark-and-stoic hadn’t deigned to make a move on me, I would do the pursuing. A surprising little twist for the night, but I could go with it.
I squeezed beside him at the bar. Up close, his size was impressive and a little intimidating, but that only strengthened my resolve.
“Hey, tough guy,” I shouted over the din.
He looked up at me from his beer. I faltered a bit at the total lack of emotion in his face and fought an automatic instinct to retreat. His eyes were a deep brown, almost pretty, but remote and flat. Dark hair was cut short, bristly. His nose was prominent and slightly crooked, like it had been broken. Maybe more than once.
He looked mean, which was a good thing, but I was used to a little more effort. Even assholes provided a fake smile or smarmy line for the sake of the pickup. There was a script to these things, but he wasn’t playing his part.
Roller coaster of emotions filled with strength and determination to survive and all the lies that tangled everyone together.
This book had mostly downs but I incredibly enjoyed it. I couldn't stop reading this book! It was insane how I just wanted to finish the story. The book was a bit depressing for the first half, but there was something about it that I couldn't ignore.
Allie was about the same age as I am right now, but she'd gone through a lot. In the beginning of the book, she was yet on another hunt for a man to treat her rough because she thought she deserved it and nothing more. I felt really bad that she kept putting herself down, believing that she deserved everything bad that happened to her. She was a rape victim, and her experience scarred her for life. The struggle within herself was very touching and I found myself hoping I could make her feel better. The author did such an amazing job that I could almost feel Allie's pain when she had a little "fight" with the floor and ended up a bruised face. Her personal therapy, however, came from baking. I really wanted to be like her when it comes to that department. She sounded like the best baker in town. Despite that, it took a long time for her to develop her inner strength.
In a knee-jerk reaction, I banged my head into the wood above me. A cry escaped me as tears sprang to my eyes. A sense of utter failure assailed me, and I contemplated just how long I could keep my head buried in the cupboard before it got weird. Not very long, it turned out, because Colin dragged me off the floor and into a kitchen chair with such horribly insensitive commentary as "Jesus" and "Are you okay?"
"I made a mess," I said flatly.
In acknowledgment he gently pressed an ice pack to my head.
I flinched, then let him hold me steady. "I'm sorry."
"Hey." That was all he said, his chiding tone tempered with concern.
The tears fell in streams then, making my voice all high and wavery as I tried to explain. "I'm sorry. I know you said dinner, and I tried to make it, but I just didn't...I didn't have time, you know? Or the ability to cook, either. I'm so sorry."
"Stop apologizing," he cut in.
"No, listen. I didn't mean you'd have to cook. I can cook, or we can go out. Don't stress out."
"I am so beyond stressed," I said, watery.
"Let's order a pizza."
The consideration and utter simplicity of the gesture touched me. "Really?"
He handed the ice pack off to me and pulled out his cell phone. "Ordering now. What do you want?"
"But the organic," I said. "And the grass feeding. I know you don't just order pizza."
"Pepperoni with extra chemicals? Got it," he said to me before he turned to the phone to place a real order. I swiped at the tears, but they didn't want to stop. While relief flooded me, I toyed with the empty box of lasagna noodles on the kitchen table. Idly I read the fine print.
"Hell," I said. "You're supposed to boil these first?"
"Silly mommy," Bailey said.
I couldn't stand the cool sheets, the drafty room, the black, yawning bay windows.
There was only one thing to do at a time like this. Night baking. I tiptoed from the bedroom, so as not to disturb the slumbering child across the hall, crept down the stairs, so as not to disturb the hibernating man in the study, and into the kitchen.
I opened the pantry door with a sort of reverence and fingered the packages, like a painter might before selecting his materials. A cheesecake, maybe? I'd gotten enough cream cheese for it. It would have to harden overnight, but in the morning, I'd drizzle it with melted chocolate and some of those raspberries.
Or maybe something chocolaty. What was I thinking? Definitely something chocolaty.
A tart. A light chocolate crust, a smooth truffle filling, and a shiny chocolate topping. A bit more foreplay, what with the three separate components, but--ah--the payoff. My eyes glazed at the thought. It was an orgasm in cake form. Really, no one could pamper themselves better than a baker.
Colin was the guy who took care of Allie, who was gentle to Allie, who treated Allie the way she deserved. Granted he had so many secrets that threatened Allie and her daughter, Bailey. Somehow, his gentleness and nobility made up for whatever bad things he'd done in his past. He accepted Allie and Bailey together without judgment. He saw something in Allie that no one else saw: a woman deserving of love and care. He was very protective of her. He was also a stubborn and silent man according to Allie. It was incredibly sexy ;) One thing that bothered me, however, was his dialogues when he finally spoke. They sounded creepy to me. Maybe it could have been written better.
Already feeling worn-out, I found Colin and Bailey on the living room floor where I'd left them.
"Phant," Colin said. "El-e-phant."
"Phhhhhhhhhh," Bailey said. Prepared this time, Colin blocked her easily with a cloth to catch the spray. She giggled.
"Phhhant," he said.
"Phhhhhhhoey," she said, then broke into peals of laughter when he wiped his hand.
"She's playing you," I said from the doorway.
He glanced back at me and winked. "I'm a sucker for that laugh." Ah, shit.
Stick a fork in me, I was done. Completely, positively, irrevocably in love with him. That too-full feeling closed in on my heart, and my eyes pricked. I turned to face the coat closet just to catch my breath. Oh God, I wanted to keep him.
Colin stomped out of the bathroom. The man could really throw a tantrum--quietly, though, like he did everything else.
Philip was Colin's brother. He was essentially the bad guy, and even after a little glimpse of his humanity, by the end of the book, I was still unsure about him. Just like Allie, I was on the edge of trusting him or simply leaving him alone and accepting that he was a man with flaws for a reason. He did have a lot of money and he knew how to use them.
Leave it to Philip to do a breakup box backward, putting in extra stuff rather than leaving a few things out. I was surprised he'd even packed them himself, but I figured it anyone was giving away hundreds of dollars' worth of junk from Philip's place, it was Philip. No one else would dare.
Shelly was Allie's best friend. I loved their relationship. They were practically sisters. They looked out for each other, and Shelly even went as far as sacrificing herself to help Allie. I wish I had a friend like that, not the sacrificing part, but someone who understood me without saying too many words.
NOTE: There was a part in the beginning of the book when Allie was at Shelly's apartment and she told her daughter to "catch." The author mentioned below in a paragraph that they had only played roll before, so catching was a whole new world for her. I didn't like that part because it was as if Bailey was a dog instead of a baby girl.
Jacob was Allie's ex-best friend and rapist. He used to be good, but for that one night, he turned into a monster. He left, blah blah blah. He came back and wanted to be in Bailey's life, but Allie didn't want her daughter to be near him. The way things ended with him was weird for me. I didn't expect things to be that easy between them.
There were other minor characters who played important parts in Allie and Colin's life. Some of them bad and some of them just plain suspicious but are really good. Overall, I totally recommend this book. It is an adult book with some violent sexual acts so be aware of that.