Las Vegas Tales by Amber Malloy
BLURBs and Review:
Even love takes a vacation in Sin City every once in a while.
Four brown beauties tumble head first in love in the last place on earth anyone would look for it… Las Vegas!
The Guardian (story 1): Jack Stone has inherited his family’s casino. The only problem? The mob wants it more than he does. If he doesn’t play his cards right, he’ll end up dead. When his high school sweetheart drops back into his life, Jake’s got an even tougher decision — should he trust the beauty with his life and heart — again?
I gave this story a 3.0 because while it says what it’s about in the blurb, there was very little about the external conflict in the actual story. The emotional struggle between Jack and his lady love is well-explored, but from the vague reasons for shooting a call girl to how, exactly, Jack’s lawyer gets involved, there is little explanation for why either character does anything beyond their budding relationship. That being said, Jack’s genuine heartache is well developed and his stepping in at the last minute is wonderfully clear and touching.
High Art (story 2): A brilliant painter, Bebe Noel has the goods to make it to the top… just not the social skills. With her financial situation in limbo, she must turn to her deceased benefactor’s husband for help. Will this new arrangement become lucrative for the both of them or fizzle out before it can even get started?
I’’m giving this story a 5.0. From Bebe’s awkwardness (well-developed and touching) to the deal she strikes with her dying friend, Louise, this story is amazing. I loved it so much that I wish it had been the first one in the book. It’s a classic HFN (Happily For Now), not giving away the final ending for the couple but leaving a glimmer of a promise for a loving and glorious future.
Beauty and the Boxer (story 3): Middleweight boxer Cristiano Díaz is in trouble. Unless he can score a quickie marriage he will be deported. He has his eye on a sexy baker, and she’s the only one he wants. Can the boxer convince the curvy vixen to marry him, or will he get knocked out before the first round?
I’m giving this story a 4.75. The single thing that mars it is the lack of transitions. Sometimes it was hard to figure out when/where the characters were, especially toward the end. That being said, the rest of this story, including the characters’ motivations and obvious chemistry, was spellbinding.
Run, Pussycat, Run (story 4): Sullivan McNeill comes to Vegas to snatch lounge singer Kitty Carmichael, the love of his life, away from the bright lights of Sin City. When he finds out she’s trapped in a contract with the devil, he has to figure out a way to save her or lose the woman who holds his heart forever.
I’m giving this story a 4.75, again for lack of transitions especially toward the end. I also thought it was strange that the climax in action takes place in an epilogue, which is usually the place reserved for happily-ever-after cuddling. But the rest of the tale is riveting. I love the development of both characters and the imperfection of the hero that actually turns out to save their lives.
Lena Mercier walked upstream of the thin dancers. Toned with curves in all the right places, she was an artistic statue painted in the vibrant hue of milk chocolate.
“Thanks for the drinks!” The showgirls headed out of the bar doors in a peal of giggles.
“You’ve got something of mine, Jack,” Lena said in a subtle tone that stopped the mindless chatter in his head. The Lululemon leggings cupped her perfect ass. It was her usual travel uniform. She must have just gotten off a plane. A fancy tank top and light leather jacket topped off her outfit. Her sleek black hair fell in a swoop in front of her right eye — a sophisticated cut that showcased her elegant neck. Jack noted how perfect she looked. Except for the fact she had left town two weeks ago, and he had no idea where she had gone. It still aggravated him.
He wiped down the deep wood and concentrated on the high polish, instead of the sexy woman in front of him. “Just put your lips together and blow.”
She gave him a cheeky smile before she put her fingers to her mouth and ripped a high-C whistle. In a matter of moments, the heavy panting of excitement filled the damn near empty bar. A squat, furry toad ran at full tilt in her direction. Lena’s Frenchie, Harry, hopped on the chair, then the table before he took full flight through the air. Lena caught the little fucker in the crook of her arm.
Since he never tired of that circus trick, Jack chuckled. “Nightcap?” Happy to see his neighbor had made it back home, he tried not to compete for her attention with the dog.
“Sorry, Jack, I’m beat.”
“You want to talk about it? After all, bartenders are great listeners.” He nudged to get her to open up about her work. Once high school sweethearts, they’d spent more than a decade apart, and then one day she was back. Since he didn’t believe in coincidence, he had his suspicions why Lena had suddenly showed up in his life.
“If only that were true.” Lena smiled before she headed toward the door.
“We’re not good listeners?” He wished she would stay and keep him company.
“No,” she turned around, stopping short of disappearing into the cool night, “the part where you’re just the bartender.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Amber Malloy dreamed of being a double agent but couldn’t pass the psyche evaluation. Crushed by despair that she couldn’t legally shoot things, Amber pursued her second career choice as pastry chef. When she’s not writing or whipping up a mean Snickers Cheesecake, she occasionally spies on her sommelier. Amber is convinced he’s faking his French accent.
Buy link: https://www.amazon.com/Las-Vegas-Tales-Box-Set-ebook/dp/B0741RQP5S/ref=sr_1_2
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE:
Amber Malloy will be awarding $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/28e4345f2420