Thursday, June 25, 2015

REVIEW + GIVEAWAY + EXCERPT: Loving Dallas by Caisey Quinn


In the second novel in bestselling author Caisey Quinn’s Neon Dreams series, a country rock band and its members embark on the rocky road to fame and find love along the way.

Dallas Lark is so close to achieving his dream of making it big in country music that he can taste it. Arriving in Nashville after signing with sexy, successful manager Mandy Lantram, his life goes from tragedy and turmoil to one lucky break after another—except it isn’t really luck because Dallas has sacrificed everything for his career, leaving behind his band, sister, best friend, and high school sweetheart, Robyn, in the pursuit of fame.

Robyn Breeland is a successful marketing coordinator and promotions specialist for a thriving liquor distributor out of Texas. She loves every aspect of her job: coming up with new ideas, traveling, hosting promotional parties and exclusive events—until it brings her face-to-face with the man who broke her heart, prompting her to erect a steel cage around it.

When their paths collide and they’re forced to work together, Dallas and Robyn realize that the old spark they thought they’d extinguished might still be a burning

Shel: You know what? When I put a book down and I'm imagining what the characters are doing right now--as if they really exist--that's when I know I've read a writer that I want to read more from. After finishing Loving Dallas I not only wondered about Robyn and Dallas, I found myself wondering about Dixie and Gavin...and actually a few of the characters that were either introduced or carried over from book 1 in this series. Court: Ditto my friend! I reentered this world like I was catching up with my friends, and I think that is awesome. I really enjoyed Leaving Amarillo, but I really loved this installment too...because Dallas was somewhat of a hard guy to like in the first book. Always so bossy!!! 

Shel: To be honest, I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book or if I was going to be hung up on Dixie and Gavin's story. When I saw that Dallas would have book 2 in this series I'm sure I had a reaction like this: 

Shel: (I REALLY wanted to read their story dang it!) But truth be told, I think I actually liked Dallas and Robyn's story more than Dixie and Gavin's. The pacing of it moved quickly (probably because I knew a little of it from book 1) and the angst wasn't so intense that I ever needed to throw an object to try to deal with #feelings. Court: Right? It could've went way left field, and really been too much or too boring for a full length novel...but I am sitting here right now having just finished it, and I think it is a contender to be a favorite of this series. Obviously so far, but I really like Dixie so...we'll see...but bravo, Caisey Quinn. Bravo. 

Shel: Reading the synopsis, we know that Dallas and Robyn had a history; we pick up in their story with both of them enjoying the first tastes of success and hard work. Interwoven in the present day story, we get bits and pieces of their past together and quickly understand that the reason for their break up was well meaning. I appreciated Robyn's desire to fulfill her dreams and to step aside so that Dallas could chase his too. I did not, however, always appreciate her method of trying to assure that Dallas got to have the life she thought he wanted or should have. I also liked that Caisey Quinn showed how conflicted Dallas was about this dream of his, the sacrifices he made, and how he coped with reality vs. fantasy. While these characters' lives were undoubtedly fictional, many times their reactions and feelings rang very true and real. The path to HEA wasn't always smooth, and some of the characters really tested these two, Caisey Quinn thankfully didn't write some trumped up, over the top relationship drama. Court: Agreed, my dear. I think that Robyn had the best of intentions, but she kind of messed things up royally a lot...(and to think she's supposed to be the smart one)...or more rather, she took it upon herself to "know" what everyone else needed and wanted so that they could be happy. I think a huge lesson here is definitely that that will not all...and she has some hard lessons to learn along the way. Dallas...he is rough around the edges too. Communication, as always, is the biggest hang up for our MC's...and while we want to shake them, I also felt critically the angst wasn't over the was there, but it wasn't melodramatic...and I liked that a lot. The writing and pace were pretty great too. I didn't feel that anything should've been left out, or that we were missing anything to the story...and I can't tell you how much that is a great thing these days.

Shel: As I stated at the beginning, I put the book down and not only wanted to think more about Robyn and Dallas, I also began speculating about Dixie and Gavin--and if the hints dropped showed me anything, it's that those two have some explosive scenes ahead. In the meantime, if you are new to this series, you like southern characters, behind the scenes musician stories, and a second chance romance? Check out this series. Court: I LOVE ALL OF THOSE THINGS>>>>good thing I've already read and love it huh? I can't wait for the next book. I read the synopsis, and this one even includes a teaser! I'm nervous, because of these two siblings...Dixie is a wee bit more dramatic than dear Dallas. It'll be a wild ride! 

Contact Caisey
Twitter: @caiseyquinn

“Tell me what you’ve sacrificed. I want to know,” Dallas says evenly, completely unfazed by my obvious psychotic break. “Because I know a thing or two about sacrifice myself. But I can tell you this much, I would never sacrifice my dignity and I sure as hell didn’t get where I am on my back or by putting anyone else on theirs.”
What the hell?
“Excuse me?”
“Mandy. She’s my manager. Our relationship is strictly professional, and it will stay that way, regardless of what her intentions may or may not be.”
“Okay.” I don’t want to feel relieved. I shouldn’t care. But my tightly wound nerves loosen a fraction.
“Your turn,” he informs me, folding his muscular arms over his broad chest.
“My turn for what?”
“To tell me if you’re fucking Wade! If that’s how you got on this tour, I want you to end it. He’s a grade A piece of shit who doesn’t give a damn who he—”
Dallas doesn’t get to finish his sentence.
Because I slap him. Hard. So hard my hand is still stinging.
Our faces must be matching masks of shock and I see the replay in slow motion. I’ve never struck another human being in my entire life. And I just slapped the only man I’ve ever loved with everything I was worth.
“If you ever, ever, even think to insinuate that I got where I am on my back, I swear to God, Dallas Lark, I will make that seem like a love tap.”
I am so immensely infuriated that everything in my line of sight is tinged in red. But more than that, I’m hurt. Hurt that someone I once cared so much for, and still care about more than I’d like to admit, would think that of me. Stitched-up lacerations on my heart that were on their way to being pretty pink scars are opening wide and angry. He didn’t invite me here for pancakes to catch up or spend time with me or figure out how to work together or even attempt to make amends. Nope. He’s just jealous and arrogant and a raging asshole.
“I didn’t mean to insinuate that—”
“Get the hell away from me.” I whirl around and step right into a fresh puddle. Great. Wonderful.
“No,” Dallas says, pulling me toward him and catching me off guard. “I need you to hear me out.”
“What’s to hear? You’re an arrogant ass and I hate you.”
He gives me an infuriating smirk. “No you don’t. If that were true, you wouldn’t be this pissed.”
I struggle to find a reasonable argument to this so I say, “Fuck you, Dallas.”
“Yes, please. Come back to the hotel with me. The car service is already here.” I yank out of his grasp, causing a painful friction between our skin.
He pulls me to his chest and my anger is fading, too diluted by his scent and his intensity.
“I’m sorry, baby. I’m so damn sorry,” is all he says before kissing me brutally on the mouth. Mine pops open in shock when he pulls back to breathe. His gaze presses into mine as my mind tumbles over itself trying to process the abrupt turn of events. His thumb grazes my cheek gently. “I never meant to hurt you,” he says before devouring me again.
And Lord help me, I don’t even know which thing he’s apologizing for—the past or the present—because I’m melting. The rain, his fiery hot mouth, his hands scorching a trail over my body. I’m drowning in Dallas and I can’t stop.
Worse, I don’t even want to.

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