Sunday, September 8, 2013

Blog Tour: Excerpt + Giveaway: Taming Cross by Ella James

Title: Taming Cross (Love Inc. #2)
Author: Ella James
Pages: Barkley's Books
Publication date: August 20th 2013
Buy the book: Amazon

For twenty-three years, Cross Carlson was a playboy. You know the type. Tall, dark, and wealthy. Blue-eyed. Charming. He seemed to have it all so easy. But Cross was harboring a terrible secret - one that helped ruin the life of an innocent girl and almost ended his own.

Finally out of the hospital, Cross is flailing, scarred in both body and mind and stifled by the weight of the secret he still keeps. The only way to absolution lies in a Mexican convent, and going there could cost him everything.

If there's anyone who knows what it's like to screw up big time, it's Meredith Kinsey. Just a few years ago, Merri was an ordinary girl with a job at her college newspaper and white picket fence kind of dreams. Now she's holed up in a Mexican convent, hiding from a drug lord who thinks he owns her.

What happens when the only way out of hell is with the son of the man who put you there? They say love conquers all, but does it really?

I watch Merri disappear, then I step into the hallway leading to the laundry room and smash my fist into the stony wall. It’s a stupid idea, but it makes my heart stop pounding so hard, and with the pain buzzing through my head, I’m not seeing red anymore. I walk back to the kitchen sink and run my bleeding, bruised knuckles under cold water while I try to get myself together.

I'm going to go after her, of course. We’re in this together—even if she doesn’t know it yet. And after we get back to the States, I'm going to beat my bastard father to a bloody pulp. I should have done it last time I saw him, and I hate myself because I didn't. I guess I was reserving final judgment for when I found 'Missy'. And the only reason for someone to do that is if they think that maybe—just maybe—it's the victim's fault.

I lower my hand to my side, glad to feel it pounding. I deserve it.

I draw the hand back up to my chest and work the fingers. The stinging, aching pain is nothing to the pain I've felt before, so it doesn't bother me that much. I don't think anything is broken.

I hold out both hands, the battered right one and the useless up left one, which hangs limp from my wrist. I look at my hands, and at the opulence of the room around me. I think about the dead man in the laundry room and the dead back at the convent clinic. I think about Merri racing down that hall because she couldn't stand to face me anymore, and my eyes sting.

I take my time down the hall to Merri's room. I practice some of my meditative breathing and try to send my emotions away for now. This is not about me.

I knock twice with my elbow and when she doesn't answer, I press my ear to the door. I can hear her sobbing.


I feel like a predator slipping into her dark room, but there's no way I'm going to stand out in the hall. I see the bump of her form on the bed, a curled-up ball that melds into the shadowed shapes of the pillows. More than anything, I want to lie beside her, but I'm not sure if I should.


When her sobbing continues, I climb up on the bed and lie on my side, leaving a few inches of space between our bodies. I'm getting near wall-punching frustration levels again when I decide to take the small liberty of putting my hand on her back.

Within seconds, she rocks against me and I have my arm around her.

“That's right. Here.” I shift her closer to me, so her back's against my chest. My left arm is wrapped around her mid-section; her soft t-shirt tickling the upper part of my arm, where I still have feeling. Her sobbing doesn't sound as violent as it did a few moments ago, but she's still pretty upset.

Moving gently, slowly, I lower my face to the back of her head, nuzzling her hair. When her crying quiets a little, I brush my lips against her head and whisper in her ear. “It's okay, Merri. It's okay.”

I can feel her shake her head. I press my face against her hair and wish like hell that I could clasp my left hand around her. Really hold her. Half a heartbeat later, her hand comes up and clasps my arm. She folds me more tightly around her—effectively doing exactly what I’d wanted.

The room is quiet except for her gasping breaths. I can feel her frantic heartbeat underneath my arm, can feel her ribcage furiously pumping in and out. I continue whispering, a mantra of it's okays and shhhh, Merris.

I lie against her a little more and murmur, “It wasn’t your fault. No matter what you did, you didn’t deserve this.” Re-balancing my weight, I take my right hand from under my cheek, where it was propping me up, and use it to play with a strand of her hair. “Sometimes good people make mistakes. You know how you can tell if you're one of the good ones?”

“No,” she whispers, tiny in the dark.

“Because good people feel guilty afterward.”

For the longest time, I play with her sweet-scented hair. If I shut my eyes and allow myself to focus on the soft warmth of her against me, my cock gets the wrong idea, so I shift my legs where Merri can't feel it up against her back and try to focus on her hair.

“You're good at that,” she whispers hoarsely.

“This?” I twirl her hair around my finger and nuzzle the back of her head again. I'm not trying to come onto her, though I would like to; I can simply tell she needs to be touched. She needs to be held and cared for, and I'm happy to do it. She did the same for me.

“Yeah,” she murmurs. “You must have sisters.”

Mention of my family pierces me, but I try not to let her feel the tension in my body. “No sisters. Just me.”

She waits a moment, and even though I don't have feeling in my hand, I can tell she's stroking my wrist and the tops of my fingers, on the side of my pinkie, where it's free of bandages.

“Is that uncomfortable?” she whispers.


Some of the tension leaves her body. I can feel her sink into the mattress. I wonder how tired she is. Whether she was always afraid, back at the clinic. I wonder what her life was like with Jesus. But Merri’s not offering any stories. Just whispered questions.

“Where will I go when we get to the States?”

I don't even think before I answer. “With me.” “Really? You won't leave me when we get there?”

“No.” I wait a breath or two. My pulse sounds like a drum inside my ears. “I still want to know what happened,” I say. “It doesn't have to be right now. You can wait and get a notepad or a computer and write it for me if you don't feel like saying it. But I need to know. I won't let these people get away with what they did to you.”

A hoarse sound vibrates in her throat. “I'll tell you,” she whispers. “But Evan?”


“Don't stop holding me.

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About the author:

I'm a Denver, Colorado author who writes teen and adult romance. I am happily married to a man who knows how to wield a red pen, and together we are raising a feisty two-year-old who will probably grow up believing everyone's parents go to war over the placement of a comma. My books have been listed on numerous Amazon bestseller lists, including the Amazon Top 100 and the Amazon Movers & Shakers List; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Young Adult Ebooks of 2012. To find out more about my projects and win prizes and swag, find me on Facebook at Questions or comments? Tweet me at author_ellaj or e-mail me at

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  1. Thanks so much for helping w/ my tour!!! :) I'm doing a cover reveal for new covers for Selling Scarlett and Taming Cross on 9/13. If you want in on it, let me know. :) xoxox