Author Tess Oliver
Blog Tour and Review
When August “Auggie” Stonefield accepts an unpaid internship working for her favorite professor, she figures it will make for a quiet, uneventful winter break. But when the professor’s son, Dalton North, returns home broken and weary from the war, things are anything but quiet. And in the icy cold midst of winter, August Stonefield loses her heart and finds a burning passion she never knew she had.
An internship cataloguing ancient pottery. A war-hardened soldier who’s impossible to resist. A priceless Egyptian artifact. And a devious scheme that is fraught with danger. Antiquities major, Auggie Stonefield, is about to experience a winter break she will never forget.
I pulled the cover up to my chin like I’d done as a young girl when I was certain the closet monsters were coming out to get me, but I couldn’t relax enough to sleep. The house was quiet and dark again. I climbed back into my slippers. I peeked out into the hallway and everything was still. I tiptoed to the kitchen hoping a glass of milk would make me sleepy.
I scuttled around the corner, and a gasp stuck in my throat. The refrigerator door was open, and the light pouring out illuminated his broad bare back, showing every line of hard muscle . . . and every small scar. There were many. His pajama pants hung low on his narrow hips, and I stood as quiet as a mouse for a guilty second and stared at his incredible physique.
He still had not heard me, and I wondered if he was still lost in the agony of his bad dream. I tiptoed without a sound, but as I neared he seemed to sense me. He continued to stare into the refrigerator as if he expected something to jump out into his hands.
“I’m sorry if I woke you.”
“Please don’t apologize.” His shoulders tensed as I moved closer to him. Even in front of an open refrigerator, heat rolled off of him in searing waves.
He shut the door but didn’t turn around. He leaned his forehead against the freezer door. I stepped closer. My hand trembled slightly as I reached up and touched him. The muscles of his back tightened and then relaxed. I trailed my fingers over the tiny scars that were splattered across his shoulders. The tiny ridges were hard, and I could feel the pain of each one in my fingertips. I stood on my toes and lowered my mouth to his skin. He sucked in a sharp breath as I pressed my lips to the scars. I kissed him over and over again wanting to absorb the pain that still clung to him physically and mentally. And he let me kiss him. His broad shoulders lifted and fell with each shallow breath as I ran my lips across his marred skin.
Dalton North POV:
This isn’t in the book, Tess has written it just for the blog tour for us.
The throbbing in my head took my mind off the relentless pain in my leg. It had become my sort of twisted way of dealing with the constant agony. Get drunk enough for a skull-pounding hangover and it dulled everything else.
I made a stupid-ass attempt to mask the uneven sounds of my footsteps, but the wooden hallway floor made it pretty damn laughable. I wasn’t even completely sure why it mattered, except that I knew the girl was standing just around the corner in the kitchen. I’d heard her silky laugh twice before I’d even left my bedroom.
She stood in the kitchen helping with breakfast. Long auburn hair cascaded down the back of her sweater and I could see only the side of her face as she smiled sweetly at my dad. I’d been in a desert that was so hot just taking a breath hurt, a place where you learned not to trust even your own shadow, a place that could only be described as hell, and the only way to survive the nightmare of it all was to believe that somewhere else in another place, another time, another dimension angels existed. And now I’d come home and found one standing over the waffle iron in the kitchen.
She looked up as I entered the room and that was all it took. I could not look away. Her thin fingers trembled almost imperceptibly as she tucked her hair behind her ear. I dragged a chair out from the table and sat down hard and watched her. She grew more and more flustered by my scrutiny but I couldn’t stop myself. She was a piece of heaven that had floated in through the darkness and I wanted to watch her. And, even though she nearly bit through her plump, highly kissable bottom lip with agitation . . . it seemed . . . that deep down she wanted me to watch her.
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About the Author
Tess Oliver is the New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of Freefall (Custom Culture, #1). She is also a full time teacher and lives in California with her husband, two kids, and a pack of pampered pets. She loves horses, chocolate, and Jane Austen books. She has a BS in Nutrition Science and a MA in Curriculum and Instruction.
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The novel begins right as the college Auggie is attending is finishing up exams and beginning winter break. The holidays are coming. Auggie’s best friend Rylie is heading home to have a REAL family Christmas. Which is something that Auggie has always wanted, though her parents are always making the holidays a traveling affair. Auggie has talked to her mother this year, and is excited about their stay at home this year plans. She and her mom are going to make cookies, Christmas dinner (no staff help or fancy dinnerware), and maybe even a gingerbread house.
Instead she gets a call from her mother on the opposite coast (California) and the family is now heading to France for the holidays. Auggie puts her foot down and says–NO! She refuses to go, her mother promised her. Yet, another let down from her family. Auggie comes from a wealthy family. One of the servants even helped her learn how to ride a bike. So why should plans for REAL family Christmas be a surprise let down. Yet, it is for Auggie.
So what is she going to do over break…
It just so happens she gets a request from one of her favorite teachers to help catalog ancient Egypt pottery relics. He provides directions and tells her that his son Ethan (school hottie) is going to be there. Making the requests seem twice as enjoyable for Auggie.
The drive up to the professors house is filled with snow covered roads. At one point while glancing away for only a moment to check the directions she nearly runs over someone.
She is shaken after finding out the person is not hurt and manages to make it to the professors home.
(Would a student actually go to/be asked to a professors home in real life for a project?)
Auggie enjoys the project and works quite competently and briskly is typing in the details needed in order to catalog the artifacts. She works long hours and enjoys the sight of the snow outside the office window.
The next thing she knows is that the person from her incident on the road is actually one of Professor North’s sons. And he comes with some serious emotional and physical baggage.
During her stay at the North’s Auggie hears mention of a ‘Gold Band’ after an outing with the guys on snowmobiles. . The family seems very tense, but she tries to stay out of their way as much as possible. Later Professor North shows her the object that his sons had mentioned in her presence. She is amazed at the wonder of the item.
Auggie and Dalton (Professor North’s oldest son) find that they are attracted to one another. She shares how she ended up there, about how her plans for making cookies, gingerbread houses, and even decorating own Christmas tree got turned into a trip to France instead. Thus, she accepted the invitation to catalog the Egyptian Antiquities (which is her major).
In a way this short novel is like a thriller and a romance in one. The professor gets a lot of phone calls that fluster him, and his mood changes for the worst from the beginning to the end of the novel. Dalton knows something is up, but he is just not sure what. He is a pretty smart guy. Very aware of his environment. I like this novel for several reasons. One being that it is not your average millionaire, biker, corporate man hero read. Dalton is a fictional character, but there are real persons with issues and military experiences similar to his. A second reason is that Auggie, even though she does see Dalton as attractive, she also sees him as a person. A person in more pain than just physical. It is almost like his pain is her pain. And third, because Auggie sees Dalton as an individual. Someone who is talented, strong, and caring.
Auggie and Dalton’s relationship does not begin until halfway through the novel. But when it starts it is pretty seductive. My favorite was the fireplace scene. I guess because I have often wondered what it would be like surrounded by snow, and having a warm and cozy fire in the fireplace; a perfect place for romance and memories to be made.
Towards the end the action and thrills come faster and faster. I could see the pages decreasing and I am going, OK, how is this going to end, what is the story behind it all going to be?
Which I will leave you guessing, I do not want to spoil if for you…
When the end came, I wanted more. More I tell you, more… How did Auggie spend the rest of her school break? What did the future hold for Dalton and for Auggie? Did her parents ever find out about the happenings and danger she was faced with over the break? Did Dalton ever teach Auggie how to use his pottery wheel?
I am hoping that since Rylie was introduced in the beginning of the novel that a second book will come out about her, and have information about Auggie and Dalton.
Because, I REALLY WANT TO KNOW…
4.0 Rosebuds- Writing provided interest in the characters, their was mystery, that at least caused me to want to know more. Grammatical errors were far and few. There was a lot of detail in the novel, you could almost feel the cold frosty weather outside. Left me craving more of this story.
4.0 Romance Rave
The romance was limited to only a handful of scenes. Yet, though they were few, they were spicy!!!
This is a perfect and quick read for a rainy afternoon, snow filled holiday, or just any day and time, you want to read a romance that is short and sweet, but with a little mystery and thrills too!