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Monday, February 9, 2015

Blurred Lines (Out of Line, #5) by Jen McLaughlin

A Review by Wendy
 Writing What You Know Stars 
* * * 

I think all authors at one time or another have been given the advice to "write what you know" is something universal. Jen McLaughlin has taken that adage and run with it for her 5th installment for this series. I say that because our main character Noelle is a Erotic Romance writer attending a writers convention for authors, bloggers and reviewers. Yes, we are in her element so in that sense it is art intimidating life. We are given details from an author's perspective; the excitement of landing a big agent for the first time, the discussion about being approved for a new series... we are sitting up on the dais side of the audience being the author asked the questions and experiencing possible flop sweat. There is debate as to whether the person actually knew what they were talking about during a seminar of BSDM and then the  ever tricky workshop on writing sex scenes. There even was the acknowledgement of authors fangirling other authors at these things.

Everything I mentioned are the surrounding details to this story... they added so much like just the frame to an artwork... where its presentation makes all the difference. Because with these elements I could somehow relate to place settings and activities, the community of bloggers and readers and understand the atmosphere of how these two main characters came together.

Noelle has been dealt a life most would have been crushed by... a family whose actions have destroyed any way to live peacefully where she was raised. She pulled herself together; she created a new life in NYC and with her high school sweetheart was having her personal HEA... they were finally married and ready to ride off into the sunset...Yet that was not what she received. Instead she was dealt another blow and lost him forever. Now she lives her life through writing these books, remaining best friend/sister in law with Emily and meeting deadlines. It has been a year and a half since her husband's passing... and moving on is very, very hard.

Noelle and Emily are attending this convention in San Diego. It is held at a hotel with a massive lobby which doubles as a bar. There are gaggles of women... some male cover models.... with everyone unwinding down from the first day at the event. Both are just having some wine and Emily is suggesting to Noelle to break out of her mourning... they both loved her husband... he was Emily's brother, after all... but until Noelle moves on... both are stuck holding on to the pain. During this conversation they both notice a man at the bar who is OUTSTANDING in every way...they think he may be a cover model...but not one only shot from the neck down...because he has all the good; face, hair and a commanding presence. The joke is he is oblivious to everything going on around him...and he is drinking... seriously drinking. The gals chat some more and Noelle decides a hotel room with tv is what is calling to her.

The man the women saw was Riley. He is at the hotel bar because his controlled world has just hit a major bump. The handsome intelligent man has been manipulated from birth. Born into a family of politics, he has done what has always been asked or ordained. His father is a senator with political ambitions for VP. Riley is an attorney because it was expected; he has been tied to a woman he doesn't love because a marriage was expected. He obeyed because of his love of family and his belief in his inability to love or receive love. He never treated his soon to be partner in marriage disrespectfully; he cared for her and was faithful. Unfortunately, she was not.... her ass was in the air getting it from her ex lover on Riley's couch tonight when he walked in unexpectedly. The shocker to him was how upset he was with the naked guy on his couch instead of in his fiance. After stating the arrangement is over... he is at this bar drinking to forget.

He is tired of doing everything everyone wants of him. He is tired of being safe and planned. He is longing to be the man he once was before taking on the mantle of the firm and all of those responsibilities. He just want's to forget it all and check into the hotel for the night.

What happens next is the meeting of these two people at a specific juncture of their lives... Noelle is getting into the elevator and Riley stops her...asking if she is checking out so he could use her room for the night. There are no available rooms due to some conventions he drunkenly tells her looking deeply into her eyes...He starts to explain how he has no home to go to.. with Noelle cautiously asking probing questions...He is polite, gentlemanly and sweet... Noelle is sensing he is a lost soul and would do her no harm... she is shocked by her next action... she allows him to share her room... as it does have two beds. They are careful together but the undercurrent is electric... he is so aware of her... every movement a symphony of beauty... her curves send shock waves to him... her chest is something to sink his face into and never leave... she is woman, everything he has every wanted but could never explore...But he is fighting all of this as much as he wants her... because he would never be that drunken fool.

He is not the only one who is attracted though... Noelle is pulled to him as well... she has had only her husband... and this sweet man is looking at her with such admiration... as if she is a goddess... somehow the two of them end up bumping into each other while settling into the room. She decides to make him more comfortable to sleep as he is talking about the room spinning.... as she takes off his jacket and tie... they are so close...Noelle starts to unbutton his collar and then shirt ...and then they just kiss...these two connect... and it is a first step to freedom for both of them.

This story had a lot going for it yet there were some things which had me a little confused at times. I appreciated the timing for these two so their rush to romance was the setting... and the romantic interactions.... let's just say Ms. McLaughlin must be teaching all those workshops in how to write sex scenes .....What was hard for me was how clueless Noelle was about Riley's background and how she never talked to him about her difficult parental past. What was more annoying for me was Riley and the way he handled the important stuff... he made decisions without doing things a normal person would do, let alone an attorney even when wanting to be free and impulsive.

The focus of this tale was to take that chance ... to go outside of your predictable comfort zone... because you never know what wonderful life changing experiences you may have. This was true to this tale and we all know Romance stories never lead us astray.

A gifted copy was provided by author/publisher for an honest review.

Jen McLaughlin is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of sexy New Adult books. Under her pen name Diane Alberts, she is a multi-published, bestselling author of Contemporary Romance with Entangled Publishing. Her first release as Jen McLaughlin, Out of Line, released September 6 2013, and hit the New York Times, USA Today and Wall Street Journal lists. She was mentioned in Forbes alongside E. L. James as one of the breakout independent authors to dominate the bestselling lists. She is represented by Louise Fury at The Bent Agency.

Though she lives in the mountains, she really wishes she was surrounded by a hot, sunny beach with crystal-clear water. She lives in Northeast Pennsylvania with her four kids, a husband, a schnauzer mutt, and three cats. Her goal is to write so many well-crafted romance books that even a non-romance reader will know her name.

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