Monday, August 10, 2015

Blog Tour: Excerpt and Review for Perfect Betrayal by Season Vining

I have a special treat for you all today! I have the first chapter from Season Vining's upcoming book Perfect Betrayal. This will hit bookshelves and e-readers on August 18th.

To the outside world, Taylor Hudson has it all: beauty, money and social status. But Taylor’s privileged life is far lonelier than it appears.
Levi is the inside man on a job to steal fifteen million dollars from one of the town’s wealthiest families, putting him on a crash course with Taylor. Neither of them believe in love, but lust. . . that’s undeniable.
Now they’re locked in a wicked game of seduction and it’s unclear who is playing who. But neither of them expected the affair to lead to the deepest connection they’ve ever experienced. Because beneath Taylor’s perfect exterior lies a need for love that mirrors Levi’s own. 
As the heist approaches, how can Levi protect Taylor from the truth?
Is he willing to give up everything to save the one girl who’s made him want to be a better man?

1.fistfights and tomorrows 
“Whoa. You chasing something away, honey?” 
Levi set down his nearly empty beer  bottle and looked over to find a pretty brunette perched at the bar next to him. She was an older woman, but attractive and well aware of it. Levi’s gaze dropped to her cleavage before snapping to her eyes again. 
“It’s okay. You can look,” she said, leaning over just a bit. “These babies cost so much, everyone should get a peek.” 
He chuckled and shook his head. Levi’s knee bounced up and down, rattling the bar stool. It was the only outward sign of the buzzing excitement inside his head. He downed the rest of his cold beer and waved at the bartender for another. When it was delivered, he swallowed half of it in one long pull. 
Definitely chasing some demons,” the  woman offered. 
“Hell is empty, and all the devils are  here,” he said. 
The woman placed her hand on Levi’s forearm, her red nails tracing the lines of ink. “Let me know if I can help in any way.” Her smile was infectious. Before he knew what he was  doing, Levi was smiling back. 
“What the hell is this?” 
Levi looked over his shoulder to find a  giant of a man glaring at them, his eyes focused on where the  woman was touching Levi. 
“We’re just talking,” she said, removing her hand and sliding two seats away. “Calm down, Gary.” 
“Don’t tell me to be calm, Maggie.” The man’s chest heaved with deep breaths while his fingers stretched and curled into fists. Levi recognized the habits of a violent man. He grinned. 
“You should listen to your old lady before you have a stroke or something.” Levi finished his beer and swung around on his bar stool to face the man now. Though Gary was only a little taller, he had about fifty pounds on Levi. 
“Mind your business,” Gary shouted. He turned to Maggie. “I work a double, come in h ere to grab a beer, and find you cuddled up with some piece of trash?” 
Levi was on his feet in a flash. Blood pumping, adrenaline singeing his already frayed nerves. 
“What the fuck did you call me?” Levi growled. 
“A punk kid piece of trash that doesn’t know when to shut his mouth.” 
It wasn’t a conscious decision to throw the first punch. It never was with Levi. His temper was short, and once the fuse was lit, there was no stopping him. The cracking sound was heard even above the conversations and  music of the bar. Levi  wasn’t sure if it was his hand or the guy’s face. 
“You son of a—” Gary roared, but he didn’t finish his thought as he swung. 
Levi was too fast for the big, slow beast. He dodged the man’s effort and threw his right hand forward again, this time landing in Gary’s gut. 
“Oomph,” was all the man could get out as he folded over in pain. 
Levi felt the euphoria wash over him, the physical manifestation of  everything churning inside him. The bar had gone  silent now, and as he checked on the lady who started all this, he missed the telltale sign of Gary’s retaliation. 
The blow hit Levi’s mouth, snapping his head back. Blood coated his tongue and he spit it onto the floor between them. He brought his thumb to his bottom lip and swiped away the crimson there. Gary was waiting, fists raised. Levi smiled, a dark and sinister kind of grin. 
“Out! The both of you!” the bartender shouted. “I’ll call the cops!” 
Gary grunted and shoved his way out the door, giving up easily, while Levi reached for his wallet. 
“Get out!” the bartender repeated. 
“I’m just paying my tab.” 
Levi threw a twenty down and tucked his wallet away. He then turned to Maggie, who was still sitting at the bar, wearing a guilty look. 
“Thanks. I  really needed that.” He shot her a wink. The bartender glared. “I’m  going,” he said, raising his hands in surrender. 
As Levi stepped out into the cool night air, he felt empowered. He took in the boarded-up buildings covered in graffiti and the dark streets and knew that he would always belong  here. In this impoverished neighborhood, Levi had always earned an honest living. He didn’t have much, but what he had, he had worked for. He used to think there was honor in that. There w ere only two places to go from  here, over to greener pastures or upstate to prison.  Either way, Levi was determined to leave  behind this life and start new. 
Sometimes opportunities come along that call to your most basic desires—to be better, to take control. They are too tempting, too promising to pass up. Tomorrow would bring that opportunity. 
Taylor moved around the edges of the room, the fruity drink growing warm in her glass. She wasn’t interested in getting drunk tonight—though, the longer she stayed h ere, the more she wanted to drink. Bodies huddled in the  middle of the room, dancing and grinding away their inhibitions, surrounded by antique furniture and priceless artwork. Each face she passed gave her a practiced smile, all wanting a piece of her. 
“This party is so lame,” Reese said as she leaned against the wall and stared out over the crowd. 
“It is,” Taylor agreed. 
“So why are we still  here?” 
Taylor sighed and set her drink down on a nearby  table. “It’s our last party with these  people. The end of an era.” 
“Thank God,” Reese said. “High school is over. I’m going to get another drink. You want?” 
Taylor shook her head. “No. I’ll be out of  here soon.” 
Beau spotted the girls from across the room. The crowd parted as he moved toward Taylor and her friend. By the time he reached them, Reese was gone. 
“Where’d your BBF go?” he asked, his sandy blond hair standing up in all directions. 
“It’s BFF, Beau.” 
“Not with her. Bitch Best Friend. BBF.” Taylor rolled her eyes. “I’m ready to go.” “Already?” he asked. 
 People passed by, slapping Beau on the shoulder or offering a fist to bump. The girls looked at him with stars in their eyes, lovesick and completely docile. 
“Aren’t you tired of all this?” Taylor asked. 
He leaned one hand against the wall and tipped back his drink. The permasmile and glassy eyes meant she’d be driving to night. 
“Tired of what exactly? Being loved by everyone? Being captain of the soccer team?” He lowered his voice and brought his lips to her ear. “Being able to land any girl I want?” 
“And who do you want?” Taylor asked. She knew his answer. It was always her. And in this moment, she would take advantage of that. 
“Let’s get out of  here,” he said, like it was his idea. 
Taylor nodded and turned toward the front door. The house was so crowded now, it was hard to navigate their way through. Mentally, she said good-bye to each person she passed, knowing that— with any luck—she would never see them again. Nameless faces who knew way too much about her passed in a blur. Good-bye, girl who copied Taylor’s haircut. Good-bye, guy who always had gum. So long, chick who slept with teachers. 
Once they made it outside, Beau led them through a maze of high- end cars  until finally locating his. Taylor grabbed the keys from his pocket, unlocked the doors, and they both climbed in. 
“No one drives my car,” Beau said from the passenger seat. 
“I’m not ‘no one,’ ” Taylor clarified. “And you’re drunk.” 
She rolled down the windows and backed out of the space. Just when Taylor put the car in drive, a group of boys blocked their exit. 
“You’re leaving? Dude!” one of them shouted. 
“Beau, you can’t go yet!” another said dramatically, throwing himself on the hood of the car. 
Beau laughed at their antics while Taylor revved the engine. 
“Move,” she said through gritted teeth. 
“But how can we party without the Party Master?” Taylor honked the horn. 
“Fine, fine. Just go!” a blond guy, still wearing his graduation cap, yelled. 
They moved out of the way and Taylor floored it, leaving them all  behind. 
“How can you be tired of that?” Beau asked, a satisfied grin on his face. 
Taylor shook her head and kept quiet. She didn’t want any of it. She was exhausted from being this girl, playing this role. With their adolescence  behind them, Taylor was holding out for something bigger and more meaningful. She was ready. With summer officially  here, tomorrow would be  different. 

★★★★ 1/2 stars

I know when I pick up a book written by Season Vining it's going to be good. Her writing is consistent and always engaging. She manages to infuse intensity into words that evoke lasting emotion. I know I'm going to shed at least a few tears while reading but I'm alright with that. It just means I connected with the characters and story.

Perfect Betrayal is the story of Taylor and Levi. They're an unlikely couple. Taylor is used to getting what she wants except from her parents and Levi didn't have much growing up but had a lot of love. The two however have this attraction to each other that defies logic and understanding. Taylor knows she's leaving at the end of summer and Levi has an agenda he can't risk jeopardizing. The two of them had this chemistry that just wouldn't quit. It was like any time the two of them were within ten feet of each other I was eagerly watching to see if they'd rip each other's clothes off.

It was really something watching them go back and forth. Both were determined to get what they wanted even if the one chink in Levi's plan was his attraction to Taylor. I liked how once they got past their words to one another they were able to see who they really were, even if they weren't able to vocalize it. The two of them really connected when it came to their bodies but they found it so difficult to connect outside of that. I didn't like when they hurt each other using words, especially when they did it knowingly to protect themselves. For someone who liked control I admired how often Taylor put herself out there. She had just as much as Levi to lose but she was willing to follow her heart and feelings.

This book is about more than just the games Taylor and Levi play with each other. There are many games at play here. It seemed like almost everyone had an agenda or two. The story has some crazy twists. I was able to predict a few, but for the most part all of my guesses were wrong. I think I was surprised by how much. Another surprise was how sensitive I was to Taylor's emotional pain. I really did not like her parents and there were moments when I didn't like Taylor and Levi's friends. I did love all of the poetry in this book. It made me realize what I've been missing out on. 

If you're looking for something new and exciting to read, I'd definitely recommend this book. It had it all, a hot guy and girl, lots of drama, some action, and some mystery and suspense too. It all combines into a memorable page turner.

Pre-Order Links

About the Author
Season ViningHi. My name is Season Vining. I have written poetry as long as I can remember. There are hand-written odes to flowers, mermaids and New Kids on the Block tucked away somewhere in my mother’s house. Later, things grew darker. Lines of teenage angst, the cruelties of high school and woes of unrequited love fill random pages of school notebooks. With maturity came a longer attention span and a desire to pen short stories. Eventually, I was inspired to write my first manuscript by reading other stories. I found myself wishing for this storyline or that character and one day asked myself, “Why don’t you write it?”
So, here we are. Through blood and sweat and unparalleled support from friends and family, I’ve completed my first novel. Though the experience was sometimes grueling, it was also enlightening and therapeutic. Most importantly, it proved that I can accomplish anything. I look forward to proving that with future works.
In the simplest terms, I am a designer, an author, a philanthropist, a bookworm, a cook, inked, and a night owl.

*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for them in any manner.*

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