Saturday, September 7, 2013

Blog Tour: Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway: Shine Not Burn by Elle Casey


I can't be held responsible. Things that happen there are supposed to stay there, right? Right? Yeeeah. Not so much. Andie's just days away from tying the knot, but there's just ooooone little glitch. Apparently, she's already married. Or someone with her name is married to a guy out in Oregon of all places, and the courthouse won't issue her a marriage license until it's all cleared up. Tripping her way through cow pies and country songs to meet up with a man who gets around places on horseback is her very last idea of how to have a good time, but if she's going to get married, make partner at the firm, and have two point five kids before she's thirty-five, she needs to get to the bottom of this snafu and fix it quick ... before her fiance finds out and everything she's been working toward goes up in flames.

This one really took me by surprise. I thought it’d just be this short sweet romance where we watch the perfect love develop out of nowhere with very little difficulty.

That is not at all what happened. Andie is headstrong, determined, and willing to do whatever she needs to do to meet her goals. Until she meets Mack. The 2nd time. The first time she meets hardly counts except for that little drunken marriage. It’s the 2nd time they meet that he really makes her open her eyes. That he makes her really reevaluate what her real goals in life are and what she is willing to sacrifice. Is she willing to sacrifice being happy and in love so that she can have her “lifeplan” come through?
Mack is charming, HOT, and sweet. But he is also rough around the edges, demanding, and won’t take no for an answer. He is determined to make Andie see the flaw in her plans and make her open her eyes. And I loved watching it.
This was a very sweet story that had enough different from every other typical romance to keep you interested. Elle Casey did a great job of capturing my attention and keeping it through the entire story!


First meeting of the two main characters, Andie and Mack

A dinner of salad and a single breadstick wasn’t exactly a gourmet meal, but with this tight black dress on and the stupid gel-filled boob propper-uppers Candice had forced into my bra, there was no way to fit a normal dinner into my belly, even if I’d wanted to.  Thing was, though, I was too nervous to eat that much anyway.  I found the firey liquid diet I’d been feeding myself since the haircut was more to my taste right now.
“God, all I had was a stupid salad and I feel like I’m going to bust a seam on this thing.”  I was walking on higher heels than I was used to, thanks to Kelly and her having the same size foot as me.  “You guys conspired against me with this outfit, and don’t think I’m going to forget it easily, either.  We have at least two more bachelorette parties to plan in the future and revenge will be my bitch when that time comes.”  I flicked my hair back, trying not to smile.  The haircut really did make me feel beautiful.  It was totally Jennifer Anniston, and both Kelly and Candice said I was pulling it off well.
“What’s she whining about now?” asked Candice, putting on lipstick using her tiny purse compact.
Kelly hiccuped.  “I’m not sure, but I think she’s complaining about the shoes again. Or maybe the dress.  I can’t keep track.  I lost my brain about an hour and three margaritas ago.”  She rubbed her stomach and grimaced.  “Can I go to bed now?”
“No, you can’t go to bed.”  Candice snapped her compact shut and dropped it into her small handbag.  “We’re just getting started.”  She rubbed her hands together.  “Okay, girlies, where to first?  Poker?  Slots?  Craps?”
“Do you have to go to the potty?  Because I do too.  Good idea.”  Kelly tried to take Candice by the hand but Candice shook her off.
“What are you talking about?  No one said anything about going to the bathroom.”
Kelly frowned at her while I laughed silently.  I loved watching my harebrained buddies try to have a grown-up conversation.  The several cocktails I’d consumed since my haircut was making it even more amusing than usual.
“You said you were going to crap, so call me crazy, but in my world, that means we need to find a toilet.”  She smirked at Candice and then looked at me, rolling her eyes.
“If you had a functioning brain cell right now, you’d be dangerous,” said Candice.  “I said do you want to play craps, not I have to go take a crap.  Jesus, I don’t even use that word.  You know I wouldn’t say that, what’s wrong with you?”
I decided to rescue my poor tipsy friend before she got too much dizzier trying to figure out what Candice was talking about.  “Craps is a game, sweetie.  Gambling.  Where you throw the dice across the table and that guy has that hockey stick he uses to push and pull chips around?  Like on TV where the guy’s on a roll making a bunch of money and everyone’s standing around cheering for him while he throws the dice?”
Seconds ticked by and then a virtual lightbulb went on over Kelly’s head. “Ooooohhh, you mean the gaaaame craps.  That makes waaaay more sense.  It’s true … you never say crap unless you’re around people you want to impress and then you say that word instead of saying shit.”
“No, I don’t,” said Candice, looking miffed or maybe a little embarrassed.
“Yes, you do,” said Kelly, completely oblivious to Candice’s mood change.  “Okay, let’s play this crap thing.  This crappy crapper craps game.”  She giggled.
Candice rolled her eyes.  “Do I want to get her another drink, Andie?”
“Yes and no,” I said.  “Yes, because it’s her bachelorette party and yes we want her to get good and hungover later so she never forgets this trip and how much fun it is to be single … and no, because I hate it when people barf.  It makes me barf when I see it.  And if she drinks too much more…”
“…she’s gonna barf,” Candice finished for me.
“Waitress!” yelled Candice, running after a barmaid with a tray.
Kelly and I watched her go.  “What’s she doing?” Kelly asked.
“Getting us drunk.”
“Aren’t we already drunk?” she asked, scratching her head.
I smoothed down the hair that was sticking up as a result of her confusion.  “You are and I’m nearly there.  But this is your party, little sis, so you must drink until you fall over or until you kiss a stranger.”
Kelly looked at me in horror.  “I did not come to Las Vegas to cheat on Matty!”
“Then you better start drinking,” I said, handing her one of the cocktails Candice brought over.
“How’d you get these so fast?” I asked her, looking down into the glass, wondering if I was drinking something she found next to a slot machine.
“What can I say?  Cleavage works.”  Candice raised her glass high.  “Here’s to winning big tonight and possibly getting laid in Vegas!”
“Here’s to getting married!” said Kelly, raising her glass.
“Here’s to getting getting married and laid in Vegas!” I said, clinking all of their glasses and downing my drink in one, giant, three-swallow gulp session.
Candice looked at Kelly.  “Do you think she knows what she just did?”
“Nope.”  Kelly giggled, sipping on her straw.
“Shut up, buttheads.  You know what I meant.”  As if I’d drink to getting married in Vegas.  Shuh, right.  That totally didn’t fit into my lifeplan or my personality.
As soon as I finished my drink and put the glass down on a nearby shelf, we locked arms and walked into the casino area of the hotel.  Having my girlfriends on either arm made walking in Kelly’s ferocious heels way easier, so I was all for it, even though it made quite the barrier for people trying to get by.  Whenever anyone scowled at us, I smiled big and said, “She’s getting married.  To a mortician.  This is her going away party,” and they’d turn their frowns upside down.  It was like Vegas magic or something.  It was impossible to be cranky here.
As we left the restaurants and lobby behind, we entered a darker area of the huge facility.  The casino.  Bells were dinging all over the place, lights of every single color of the rainbow were flashing and blinking, and thousands of people milled around.  There were slot machines in groups with small passageways between them to get by and chairs filled with butts.  People were dropping quarters like there was no tomorrow, pulling one-armed bandits as fast as the money clanged into place.
A group of tables were across the aisle from the slot machine section, all of them with green felt on top.  The very first thing I noticed when we walked in that direction was a cowboy hat.  And it had the most beautiful man I had ever seen sitting right under it.
“Oh.  My.  Good.  Ness,” I said, caught in some kind of tractor beam, unable to look away.  My foot lifted up, trying to walk that direction, but Candice held me back.
“I don’t feel so good,” said Kelly, pulling away from me.  I let her go without a thought.
“Oh, shit.”  Candice let go of me too, leaving me to wobble a little on my own.  “Come on, Kelly, come with me.  I don’t want you to barf on their nice carpet.  Please don’t yack.  I hate it when you yack, you’re so loud about it.”
My brain barely registered what they were saying.  I only had eyes for the god sitting on the stool just twenty feet away from me. Jeans, dress shirt, cowboy hat, five o’clock shadow beard, muscles visible just below his rolled up cuffs, bronzed like he spent most of the day outside. “Be still my heart,” I said, talking to no one, to the wind, to the goddess of love who I was pretty sure had just shot an arrow into my chest cavity.  I reached up and touched my hair, hoping it was perfect.
“Stay here while I take care of her,” ordered Candice, her voice getting fainter as she got farther away.  “I don’t want you watching her and getting sick too or my whole night will be ruined.”
“Yeah, okay,” I said absently, walking towards the card table so I could get a closer look at the cowboy who’d taken my breath away and sent my brain on a vacation to Mars.
A cocktail waitress walked up to me when I was almost there and offered me a drink that someone had paid for but never picked up.  I nodded and drank half of it down before I got to the table, hoping it was an offering from the gods, concocted specifically for the purpose of giving me the courage I’d need to say hello to this mystery man.  He looked like he’d just stepped out of a magazine ad for Levis or a Bowflex or something.
I was nearly to his spot at the table when the toe of my borrowed heel caught something on the carpet and sent me flying forward.  I watched in horror as my hand went out to help find my balance, sending the contents of my glass out in a stream right at the man who’d stepped out of my lustiest of dreams.

About the Author

Elle Casey is a full-time writer of New Adult and Young Adult titles in several genres, including romance, urban fantasy, sci-fi dystopian, and action-adventure. She's an American girl who's been living in southern France with her husband and three children since 2010. She loves chatting with her readers, so feel free to drop her a line.
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