Monday, May 5, 2014

Release Blitz + Review +Excerpt: Always at First by Phalla S. Rios

Title: Always At First
Series: Not at First
Author: Phalla S. Rios
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publish Date: April 28, 2014


Angel Mabbot is the perfect daughter.

Perfection has always been an expectation set forth by her adoring father and her overbearing, neglectful mother. Knowing she can never live up to their standards, Angel falls into a life of partying, drinking and pills in an effort to dull the pain of her insecurities and perceived failures. 

Kevin Hawken, a former business partner of Angel’s father, has always loved Angel, although she has no idea who he is. Angel's substance induced state of mind forces her to question what is real. 

And Kevin is too good to be real.

Caught in the clutches of Roman Conti, a notorious and dangerous Mob boss from Italy, Angel slips under Roman’s control. A control she can't escape.

And the only man who can rescue her...

Is a man she believes existed only in her dreams.

Roman leads me away from the helicopter and down the walkway to his estate. The moment of silence feels surreal as I await my fate. This is a horrible nightmare and I will wake up safely in Kevin’s arms. 
But this is not a dream.
This is real.  The man who refuses to let me go removes his hand from my lower back and roughly turns me to face him.
“I will give you the life you crave my sweet angel, but you need to stop fighting me. Let go of him…he doesn’t have the means to give you your happily ever after like I do,” Roman murmurs as he steps closer to me. His hand grips the hem of my sweater, tugging me toward him.
I stand frigid, waiting for his next commanding move, but nothing happens. Tears spill down my cheeks, and my body tremors as I find the courage to speak. “I will never love you,” I whisper, turning away.

“Ah, you see, I don’t need love. I own you, Angel,” he growls as my name slips off his lips. He roughly cups my chin, forcing me to face him. “Love kills you. You live to find love, only to be cheated and left to die alone.” He kisses the tears on my cheeks away. “We will make this work.” 

His dark gaze locks with mine, sending a shiver down my back, then he gently lifts my left hand, his thumb rubbing slowly up and down my ring finger. “You need something here…a reminder, perhaps,” he says evenly.

“A reminder?” 

“Yes, baby, so you don’t forget who you belong to.” His lips tug into a sad smile.

“Who I belong to…” I repeat, my voice breaking.

“Yes…” he whispers. He glances slowly toward his house and frowns, then his jaw clenches tightly, and his lips press into a hard line before he turns back to me. “Our family is waiting for us. I need you to wipe away everything that happened today.”

I shake my head and let out a cold, hard laugh. “I will never forget what you did to Kevin.” Or what you are doing to that poor girl, locked away at your secret compound.

“That was nothing compared to what I can do…what I will do if you try to leave me again,” he warns, dangerously. His eyes shimmer thickly with sadness and dangerous rage.

I flinch and take a step back. “You have me. You own me. I’m yours to do whatever you want. Just leave Kevin alone.”

I just made a deal with the devil. 


We pick up right where we left off in Never at First with Kevin coming back from Italy without Angel.  She has been pulled in by Roman and he is trying to figure out how to "save" the one woman he has loved forever.

Angel has realized her love for Kevin, but knows that she must basically surrender herself to Roman for not only Kevin's safety but that of her own as well as her unborn child's.  The question is will she really be able to become the person that Roman wants and forget about Kevin after just figuring out who he really is?

Roman is determined that he will keep Angel, even if that means to make her become his hostage for the most part.  He demands her attention and knows how to play her body like a fine tuned fiddle. 

I must say that this book kept me on my toes.  I found myself feeling sorry for Kevin and how much he has lost and tolerated due to his love for Angel.  As much as she hated to Angel continues to break Kevin's heart over an over, knowing that she has no choice.  After Angel finds out what Roman is capable of she knows that she really needs to break away from him, but her mind and body has other ideas for her.  Will she be able to make Roman believe that she does love him, even after finding out about the type of person he really is.  This book kept me hoping that Kevin and Angel would end up together.  It is a pull of good verses evil for the most part.  As with each of us we always want the hero to win, at least I do.  I enjoyed this story and will find myself going back to reread it again.  It is very well put together and I love how this book picked right back up from where the first story ended without a bunch of wasted space.

Phalla S. Rios lives in California with her husband, a daughter and two goofy pit bulls. She loves to read and write while drinking her favorite tea, Joy, from Starbucks. During her spare time, she is usually at the movies or looking for the next best place to eat. She often refers to herself as a foodie. Her debut novel is Not at First. She is currently writing the sequel, Always at First


In this first book we meet Angel as she is just starting out in college.  She has left her life in California behind and is looking for a fresh start away from all the painful memories.  

The first day she arrives at the townhouse that she will share with 3 other roommates she meets Lola, who will ultimately become her best friend.  As the two go to the hardware store she runs into an incredible sexy man who she will later come to  know as Kevin.  He finds away to always be where ever she is, which seems to drive her crazy. 

By sheer chance or is it fate she sees and falls for Roman, who immediately sweeps her off her feet.  He is the total romancer who is determined to stop at nothing to have her, but will she let her developing feelings for Kevin go to be with Roman?

As we follow this love triangle of sorts through the story we find ourselves wondering which direction or person will Angel ultimately choose?  The twist that happens towards the end of the book will leave you speechless and wanting to know what is next.  I know when I finished it I was begging for the book Always at First so I could keep going on with the story to see what would happen next.   This is a great book that you will want to read and reread over and over. 

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