By Kristen Callihan
Release Day: November 14, 2016
Favorite Read of the Week
5+ I’M HOME CROWNS
Managed, the second book in the VIP series is a standout, stellar, knockout, sensational, pretty much insert an synonym for AMAZING here. Kristen Callihan has crafted a story that is not only full of romance, but also vulnerability and so much love, both friendship and romantic, and I was moved as I felt my heart clench and sigh in relief with each passing page of this story.
The characters of this story were fantastically well developed, and I fell in love with Gabriel and Sophie. Sophie’s extroverted nature, her zest for life, her ability to laugh at herself, and her unwavering dedication to the people she loves make her a phenomenal heroine. I love her witty banter, her slight gibes thrown at Gabriel, and how open she is with her feelings, even if it is not verbally. Her radiance makes the reader want to know her, be friends with her, and root for her. Just like Gabriel, the reader is smitten. Then there is Gabriel, and his complexity that enthralls the reader. This man is made up with layers, and I mean layers upon layers, but with each layer that Sophie Darling peels back, the reader falls more hopelessly in love with this hero. What I love most about his character, though, is how strong and masculine he is while also being vulnerable, which is hard to pull off and make authentic, but Kristen Callihan flawlessly exhibits his strength and vulnerability by allowing the reader inside his mind to see what drives this man of steel. These moments of honesty, even in his own head, make the readers heart ache for him, and readers desperately want him to get out of his own way. Underneath all the gruff and blustering is a man looking for love and connections but held back by fear, and this only makes Gabriel more endearing and lovable.
Sunshine and Darling are simply perfect together. Their banter is intelligent and witty, and shoots their chemistry off the charts. The slow progression Kristen Callihan takes with this couple lends to the authenticity of their relationship, and readers savor every tiny morsel of interaction between these two, always hoping this will be the time they let go and embrace what they both want. Their chemistry is so palpable that the lack of physical interaction does not even register, and for a reader who loves some good physical action, this says a lot. Don’t worry there are steamy scenes, a lot of them, and they’re completely worth the wait.
More than these two characters, the readers will fall in love with the band Kill John. In the previous book, there was little interaction with the band, but readers get them in all their glory. The camaraderie, the jokes, the obvious love among them makes all the moments with them fun, and readers have no choice but to laugh at this brotherhood that has been created among them. Getting to know Rye, Jax, Whip, Brenna, and Jules has only made me more excited for the continuation of this series.
Just as engaging as the characters is the plot. As I said before, even with the slow burn romance, this never reads slow. It is so well paced with each moment between Sophie and Gabriel only showcasing who they are characters, their growing attraction from physical to emotional, and descent into intoxicating lust and euphoric love, resulting in a page-turning story that will play with the readers’ hearts, but don’t worry, Kristen Callihan completely delivers with this epilogue, leaving this reader’s heart so light and full.
I fell in love with Kristen Callihan’s writing with the Game On series, and I don’t see my affection faltering any time soon. Her stories are well-written and intelligent, her characters are complex and read authentically, and her plots are engaging and entertaining. VIP series has only solidified what I know to be true, and I cannot wait for my return trip home with the next book in the series.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.
I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.
That is until HE sat down next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.
I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.
If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.
Let the battle begin…
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In all this time, I had yet to see Gabriel without a shirt. He hides his body like a pious Victorian, never letting me see anything other than him fully dressed and polished. Now I know why. Had he let me get a glimpse, I might never have been able to form a coherent thought around him.
This man’s chest is a work of art. It’s every fantasy I’ve had about a man’s body made real. I don’t even know how that’s possible, but I’m not about to complain. God, he looks touchable. Olive skin, tight little brownish nipples, a smattering of dark chest hair over the most incredibly honed—
“You’re staring.” His tone is dry.
“Yes, I am.” I drag my eyes up and find his expression bemused.
A thick brow lifts. I try to mimic the look and fail when both of my brows lift as one. His lips twitch in amusement.
He shifts his weight, causing his abs to clench. Good Lord. He’s not some overdeveloped gym worshiper, just solid and strong, that perfect balance between defined musculature and healthy male—
“You’re still staring, Sophie.”
“You think it’s easy looking away from all this splendor?” I ask his belly button, licking my lips when he huffs out a laugh and just a little bit more of his lower abs are revealed, slanting toward the thick bulge of his cock, which is lamentably hidden behind his slacks.
“You’re impossible,” he mutters, though there is humor in his voice. He strolls farther into the room and then practically kills me when he sits in one of the low-slung armchairs. That body, sprawled out on display, those thick, long thighs braced as if to take me in his lap—it’s too much.
I want to straddle him and lick my way from the hollow of his throat to the tip of his cock.
He eyes me as if he knows what I’m thinking, and the air thickens. So many things we left unsaid. I’m remembering his lips now, surprisingly soft, but strong with purpose.
From the way his lids lower, I wonder if he’s remembering things as well. But he doesn’t move. Tension glides over his body and snakes around the room. I feel it in my throat and down my spine. We’re closing up again, retreating.
Slowly, I toe off my shoes and set my gear down, never breaking eye contact. “I was being completely honest,” I tell him. “I see you like this and I want to stare forever.”
He snorts, shaking his head even as he rests his temple on his knuckles. “What do you mean ‘like this’?”
He tenses. It does lovely things to that chest. I focus on his face, mainly to maintain some semblance of decorum.
“You think this is me undone?” he asks quietly.
“It’s a start.” I reach for my camera bag. “Will you let me photograph you?”
There is safety to be found with the camera between us. A way for both of us to hide until we’re comfortable around each other again.
“You sound surprised.” Holding my camera, I sit in the sofa opposite him. “Don’t tell me no one has asked to take your picture before.”
“They’ve asked. I never saw the point.” He shrugs. “I’m not the story.”
You’re my story. You always were.
“This is just for me,” I say instead. “No one else.”
His shrewd gaze pins me. “Why do you want this?”
So I can have a bit of you forever. “Pictures capture moments in time. I want this one—when you finally let me see a sliver of the man behind the clothes.”
His nostrils flare on an indrawn breath, and he slowly lets it out. When he speaks, his voice is a rasp. “Take the pictures.”
About the Author:
Kristen Callihan is an author because there is nothing else she’d rather be. She is a three-time RITA nominee and winner of two RT Reviewer’s Choice awards. Her novels have garnered starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly and the Library Journal, as well as being awarded top picks by many reviewers. Her debut book FIRELIGHT received RT Magazine’s Seal of Excellence, was named a best book of the year by Library Journal , best book of Spring 2012 by Publisher’s Weekly, and was named the best romance book of 2012 by ALA RUSA. When she is not writing, she is reading.