Monday, November 3, 2014

Blog Tour + Excerpt + Giveaway + Review: Fragrance Free by L.B. Dunbar

Title: Fragrance Free
Series: Sensations Collection 3
Author: L.B. Dunbar
Genre: New Adult
Publish Date: November 2, 2014
Review Source: Enticing Journey Book Promotions

Change your destiny.

As the third child in the Carter family, I always felt a little on the outside of the Carter charm. I worked hard and played harder, but I was getting tired of the same old scene. I was more than Jess Carter’s little sister, I wanted to be me. Pam Carter.

It was time for a change and I wanted to be set free.

I knew it needed to happen. After years of one night stands and too brief sexual encounters, an accident brought Fate to me. To resist his charm was my penance for years of misbehavior. The temptation to give in to my desire haunted me for almost two years, until an uncontrollable situation started the twisted path to test my resolve further.

What would it take to claim my independence and be a new, improved woman?
I worked for Jacob Vincent, horror novelist extraordinaire, as his personal assistant, but I was adamant that the relationship remain professional. Jacob had dark demons and I couldn’t bring him into the light...or could I? Life was springing forth for me; changes were coming. I knew it was time to be set free from who I had been and who I wasto start fresh with who I wanted to be. I just didn’t know where to start to change my destiny.

Fragrance Free was all around an amazing book that kept me reading and reading; I never wanted to put it down. You know when the iPad almost breaks your nose because you refuse put it down and fall into a coma? Only to be rudely woken by the smack to the face of your eReader? Fragrance Free did me in, emotionally and physically. This is a standalone but part of a series. If you are like me and haven’t read any of L.B. Dunbar’s work this book will make you want more.  

After losing her father to a heart attack Pam has had a need of taking care of others as an EMT for a local hospital in Elk Rapids, Michigan. She also works at a garden shop and for the notorious author, Jacob Vincent. Pam is a hard worker that never gives herself time to enjoy life. Having a party girl past with one night stands, she is looking for some change in her life. 

Jacob Vincent is the horror novelist Pam is an assistant to.  Jacob is a tall, dark haired, gorgeous, sculpted man. Hotness aside, he has always kept to himself and not much to say; off of paper that is. Coming from an abusive childhood Jacob is a tortured soul. Not knowing how to have a real relationship that involves love because he doesn’t know what love actually feels like.

Pam has always had an attraction to Jacob but being his assistant has always kept him off limits. That is until he took care of her when she passed out sick on his couch when she was working for him. There was a tenderness of Jacob that Pam couldn’t bury in her mind. She ends up opening up Jacob but he still doesn’t open up the way she would like him to. Will Jacob ever fully accept the love Pam is offering to him?

Let me love you. Let me show you how gentle and sweet it can be.”

This book pulled every string of my heart. If these were real people I think I would have strangled both Pam and Jacob a few times. The angst was torturing at times but SO good at the same time. Though I did not cry reading this book I felt so sad and sorry at times. The love that emulated between Jacob and Pam was amazing. I loved how Jacob was a little dark and distant but sometimes I just wanted to scream. I loved the drive Pam had toward changing her life.

In all, this book was amazing!! I thought it was pretty cool that it took place in my home state as well. I don’t think there would be anything I would change about the story but I would LOVE to have known Jacob’s side of the story. I loved everything about the story including its supporting characters. I have never read anything by L.B. Dunbar but after this book I must get her previous books in the series. She sure knows how to keep your attention.

“He made me want him.”

Jacob sucked in a breath. “You wa...,”

Holding up a hand, I cut him off.

“He led me to think the attraction was mutual. He played me.” My voice was soft, questioning, and the darkness of Jacob’s eyes was slowing fading.

“Why’d you do that, bastard?” Jacob narrowed his eyes at the Irish man for a split second before returning his gaze to me.

“The thing is, it wasn’t only once. He kissed me. Twice. No three times. Even since I’ve been here with his fiancé right under his nose, he’s kissed me again.”

“Better stop kissing around, Jacob,” Paddy laughed. I stepped toward Jacob again and he took another step back. I stopped.

“He flirts with me, and I try so hard to ignore it, like I’m insensitive to it. Like it doesn’t affect me. But it does, Jacob. You need to stop it.” I looked directly into his wide

“Or is it just that the homegrown apple is fun to play with? I must not have feelings because I’m from a small town?”

“I never said that,” he spat at me.

“Well, you didn’t defend it.” My arms flew out again in my anger. I stepped forward and Jacob stepped back, hitting his bare back on the ropes. He was pinned.

“And to top it all off. As if finding out he was engaged wasn’t enough, the sting of that wasn’t painful enough, knowing I’d kissed him, he had to rub it in further. Stake to the heart by ear-piercing sex with her under my room. Touching her. Kissing her.” I was close enough to touch him, but I held back and Jacob leaned further against the rings.

“You are a bastard, Jacob.” The Irish brogue was full of sympathy.

“Hit me,” Jacob said calmly, his tone full of venom.

“No.” I replied.

“Hit me,” he said, closing his eyes as if he begged me to do it.

“Never.” I softened my tone.

“Hit me!” His angry voice was rising.

“Never, Jacob.” I practically whispered and he took in a breath at the soft sound of his name on my lips.

“I said, hit me, dammit.”

“I’m not her, Jacob.”

“Hit me,” he screamed in my face. I literally felt a breeze from his mouth and although I was shaking a little at this point, I responded calmly one last time.

“It would never be like that with me, Jacob,” and I raised my hand. He flinched in anticipation and I rubbed my shaky fingers down the side of his sweaty face. I slid them down his cheek to cup his neck then traced the bruise with my thumb where Lucy had bit him, and his breathing began to accelerate. His solid chest, which had been rising with each response, was rapidly moving up and down now. I continued to move my hand over his hard chest muscles and I stopped over his heart, which I could feel beating rapidly through his skin. I traced a heart with my fingers around the tattoo.

Change your destiny.

My eyes leapt upward to his face, which was filled with fear. There was no other descriptor. I had not hit him, but he appeared more frightened than as if I had.

I pulled my finger back and stepped out of his space. His breathing was still jagged and he was still pressed into the corner.

“I’ll be up front when you’re ready.” I turned to the encouraging partner.

“Thank you. That was exhilarating.” I smiled sweetly and exited the ring. As I walked to the entrance area, I heard the clap of hands behind me and Paddy spoke.

“Damn. I like her. Why aren’t you marrying her?”

I’d like to say I was always a writer. I’d also like to say that I wrote every day of my life since a child. That I took the teaching advice I give my former students because writing every day improves your writing. I’d like to say I have my ten-thousand hours that makes me a proficient writer. But I can’t say any of those things. I did dream of writing the “Great American Novel” until one day a friend said: Why does it have to be great? Why can’t it just be good and tell a story?

As a teenager, I wrote your typical love-angst poetry that did occasionally win me an award and honor me with addressing my senior high school class at our Baccalaureate Mass. I didn’t keep a journal because I was too afraid my mom would find it in the mattress where I kept my copy of Judy Blume’s Forever that I wasn’t allowed to read as a twelve year old.

I can say that books have been my life. I’m a reader. I loved to read the day I discovered “The Three Bears” as a first grader, and ever since then, the written word has been my friend. Books were an escape for me. An adventure to the unknown. A love affair I’d never know. I could be lost for hours in a book.

So why writing now? I had a story to tell. It haunted me from the moment I decided if I just wrote it down it would go away. But it didn’t. Three years after writing the first draft, a sign (yes, I believe in them) told me to fix up that draft and work the process to have it published. That’s what I did. But one story let to another, and another, and another. Then a new idea came into my head and a new storyline was created.

I was accused (that’s the correct word) of having an overactive imagination as a child, as if that was a bad thing. I’ve also been accused of having the personality of a Jack Russell terrier, full of energy, unable to relax, and always one step ahead. What can I say other than I have stories to tell and I think you’ll like them. If you don’t, that’s okay. We all have our book boyfriends. We all have our favorites. Whatever you do, though, take time for yourself and read a book.


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