REVIEW AND EXCERPT TOUR: MIXED UP LOVE by Natasha Madison

Hunter

When my business partner asked me to do him a favor, I had no idea he was sending me on a blind date his mother arranged for him. I walked in the bar, saw the woman drinking her third martini, and knew I was in for an eventful night.

After the unexpected second date, she didn’t know my real name or who I really was. By that time, the lie was too far gone, and I wanted her too much to admit the truth.

Laney

It’s not every day you find out your ex-boyfriend is engaged.

I shouldn’t have agreed to the blind date. My mother insisted, and I wasn’t in any position to turn down a night out.

I will admit, I definitely shouldn’t have ordered that fourth martini before said blind date even arrived.

The man turned out to be swoon worthy, handsome, condescending—a perfect distraction. Then I found out he was a liar.

I’ve never been in over my head to this degree.

Then again, I’ve never been in love.

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My Review

Mixed Up Love is a perfect title for Hunter and Laney’s story because from their first blind date – the one that Hunter did a solid for his best friend and went out on his best friend’s date – things become messy, not only because Laney is on her fourth martini and her inhibitions are nowhere to be found but also because Hunter is pretending to be his best friend, meaning that Laney doesn’t truly know her date and as things progress between them, Laney continues to be in the dark about the man she’s falling for, which is a recipe for disaster and heartbreak.

The way Natasha Madison crafts Laney and Hunter’s initial interaction is unique and intriguing, and even though readers know the deception that is taking place, we also recognize the chemistry between the hero and the heroine, and as they form a deeper connection, readers are waiting for the truth to be revealed before things go too far because without the truth, despite the strong feelings, things are going to blow up in his face and ruin any forward progress he’s made with Laney.

The storyline’s pacing is beyond fast, which is problematic in some respects because it’s difficult to see how a foundation can be established under false pretenses; I would have liked to see Hunter and Laney’s feelings fleshed out a bit more. I don’t mind insta-love/insta-lust, but development needs to occur after the initial bond is felt, so that readers can see that the hero and heroine’s connection goes beyond attraction, leaving no doubt in readers’ minds that Hunter and Laney can make things work between them even when the truth is revealed.

Hunter and Laney’s story is humorous, witty, has great interactions between the main characters and supporting characters, and is full of emotional moments as the feelings grow between the hero and the heroine and Hunter figures out a way to still have Laney by his side even if he has some groveling to do due to his lies.

4 Poison Apples

Excerpt

I pull up to the front door, and the valet meets me at my door once I stop. “Good evening, sir,” he says once I open my door.

“Yeah, I won’t be here long,” I tell him as I get out, not bothering to take off my sunglasses when I hand him the keys.

“No worries, sir. It will be here when you are ready,” he says, handing me the ticket for later. I put it in the inside pocket of my suit jacket. I walk inside to the hostess table, where a woman who looks like she is eighteen stands smiling.

“How may I help you?” she asks sweetly. I stop and look around to see if I might recognize the woman I’m here to meet, even though I’ve never met her. I spot a couple of women at the bar, but I instinctively know they aren’t her. I also check for exits. It’s not my fault; it’s just instilled in me.

Looking to the left, I don’t see anyone sitting alone, but then I look to the right, and I see her. I don’t know why I know it’s her, but I just do. With curly long blond hair, she downs a martini, then picks up another one and brings it to her mouth. I spot a waiter walking with two more martinis on his tray, and I’m not surprised when I see him approaching her table. “Great,” I say under my breath. “I found her,” I tell the hostess and start walking toward the table. She spots me and watches my every move. Luckily, the glasses I’m wearing stop her from seeing my eyes.

The closer I get to her, the more my pulse speeds up. What the fuck? This is weird. I look around maybe to see if something else is piquing my interest or maybe I spotted something to elevate my pulse, but no, it’s her. The fact that a gorgeous woman is sitting by herself and drinking like a fish is enough to get any man’s adrenaline pumping. Isn’t it?

“Are you Laney?” I ask, taking off my glasses, and my gray eyes finally meet her blue ones. She opens her mouth, expecting, I think, something to come out, but nothing does. I continue looking around to see if anyone is watching her, and it’s no surprise that I spot two guys at the bar sizing her up.

“Here are two more.” The waiter smiles at her, putting two more glasses down on the table and taking the two now empty ones away. She laughs nervously, and I want to reach out and trip him when he walks away.

“It isn’t what it looks like.” Her soft voice breaks me out of my plan, and I turn back to her as she smiles at me, causing my heartbeat to skyrocket. The collar of my shirt suddenly feels tight, but it’s not even buttoned.

“Really? I find it hard to believe,” I finally say. Looking around again, I spot the same two guys in suits sitting at the bar watching her. This time, one of them spots me and looks back down at his drink. “It looks like you’re sitting here waiting for something bad to happen.” I pull out the chair and sit in front of her.

“Um.” She still doesn’t say anything.

When her nose isn’t buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she’s in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It’s a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn’t listen to her…
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