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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Release Blitz/Review ♥ Of Smoke & Cinnamon by Ace Gray ♥

Title: Of Smoke & Cinnamon: A Christmas Story
Author: Ace Gray
Genre: Holiday Second Chance Romance

Release Date: December 13, 2017


Camilla Collins hasn't gone home in thirteen years. As much as she
loves her family, their tiny hometown in the folds of the Colorado mountains
holds too many memories. Memories of a life barely lived and a love barely
realized. No matter how she thrives, AJ Jenkins is the man she compares all
others too. He just so happens to be the one that broke her heart. Seeing him,
seeing the life she might have had with him, has been a very convincing reason
to celebrate the holidays in the Pacific Northwest, happy in the rain instead
of the snow.

AJ Jenkins isn't exactly bitter and frigid. It's the below freezing
temperatures, the knee deep snow, and the death of his chronically ill father
dragging him down. That is until Cam Collins finally comes home for Christmas.
After thirteen years, he'd almost given up on seeing her. And was incredibly
happy about it. But thirteen is unlucky for a reason, and apparently that
reason is still a klutzy, gorgeous, living memory determined to poke holes in
his barely hanging on heart with death defying stilettos.

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Free in Kindle Unlimited

A Review by Wendy

4.5 Never Too Late Stars
* * * * 1/2  
Spoiler Free

Oh, our younger selves....How they make mistakes and never communicate the way they should. How things are left unsaid or assumed. How these moments either slip away or get magnified by What if... or I should have. Or worse, misconceptions of what really was happening at the time...

We all have experienced something like that in our is just a matter of what and its importance. Ace Gray takes all of the above and weaves a love story which will capture your heart and not let go. She times it during the Christmas season... but it could happen anytime in someone's life...the season just makes it all the more special.

We have her; Camilla Collins. Hometown girl of Willow Creek, Colorado made good. She took her keen interest of science and bourbon, mixed the two and created a new presence in the market based out of Portland. It has been bitter sweet in many ways... she named it 13 for the special meaning it held...She loved her family, yet refused to come back home to visit. The heartbreak pain was still to intense...

Full out love for another will do that to you...Heartbreak so deep, you can't let go and won't forget...
The idea of the boy, now man, and what his life must be...cuts and only a mother's begging and pleading finally makes the girl, now woman, come home for Christmas after 13 years.

We have him; AJ Jenkins. Hometown boy who has suffered the loss of his father from a battle of cancer. Devoted to his town as a volunteer fireman, a man who loves his mom and crafts wood and steel to make works of art. Everything he touches has the trace of lost love embedded deep, making the furniture more alive, more beautiful.

For this man is steeped in pain for a heartbreak inflicted by Cam...She left him, never giving them the chance they deserved...

But there's the puzzle...for each is heartbroken beyond repair...Each swearing the other broke them.
And each is wrong about how everything went down.

Cam is back in town due to her mother's begging and how she ended up in front of The Bar she can't remember. Yes, she knows her mother talked her into seeing everyone... informal reunion and all...But she is hesitant to even go in. Her decision is taken away from her when an old high school friend grabs her and pushes them through the door.

Cam stumbles, trips and almost falls catching herself by grabbing unto the long oak bar. She hasn't been this klutzy in years. She has been a Louboutin wearing woman for years, thank you very much and never fell in them before. As she gets her feet under her, she is welcomed by her best friend from school, the owner of the bar.

They exchange hugs and chat as if no time has gone by...secret looks and acknowledgements happen. Cam knows AJ is there in the bar and she tries to ignore the situation. She is whisked away by welcoming friends and pool games take over.

AJ saw her, felt her the minute she came through the door. Almost couldn't breathe it hit so hard. He pretends he is occupied with video games and friends in order to survive this happening...The night ends with AJ losing track of Cam... and it is all for the better. He leaves as the bar closes only to find Cam on the metal bench outside.

Upside down...which was her way...She is toasted and trying to find her cel...AJ offers his. Her mother doesn't answer and even though AJ needs Cam on his couch like he needs a hole in his head...He takes her to his home and settles her there, wrapped in a quilt that had too much meaning for the both of them.

In the morning, Cam makes a special coffee as a way to open up a possibility of a fresh start for the both of them. It is in that asking everything comes to a head... AJ's pain of Cam's breaking him. And in a quiet voice, Cam answers back, she remembers it differently... with him breaking her first.

It is that small sentence that bounces, no, crashes around in AJ's head... over and over again...

These two go on a journey together...finally approaching what transpired between them 13 years ago...What secret thoughts, what could have been prevented and what to do now.

The connection between them never left... they fit perfectly and now the grown people they are love better, deeper and more sure than ever. (Amazing Sexy Times, Just Sayin')

The love is there. The need is there for the both of them but life has changes these two and what to do with their lives now is complicated....

Or is it...

Ace Gray wrote a story of true love... of the type that is real and solid from the start. It is the kind that can be frightening when it happens so young...but life changing all the same. If you have the opportunity to have a second chance at it... you should grab onto it with both hands and never let go.

This is a very sweet, sensual Christmas Second Chance Tale... and I for one, would like more.

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


Barely behind me, Cam is bent over the pool table, angling at a difficult shot. Those painted on jeans accentuate curves I don’t remember her having. Curves I want to paw. Then there’s the mysterious tattoo. It cuts across cream colored skin and I want to lick it—lick her—despite everything between us.

To make matters worse, she makes the near-impossible shot. The Cam Collins I know is three things: uncoordinated, callous and the world’s worst pool player. I’d had to help her with every shot she ever took, my body wrapped completely around hers, my hands guiding her every movement. Almost every time she’d look over at me rather than the ball.

But she’s well on her way to running the table.

How long has she had these skills? Did she develop them because I wasn’t there? My heart twists at the thought.

Or, worse, could she always do this, her mind so accustomed to angles and trajectories, but wanted my hands on her?


I don’t know why I’ve thought of the possibility, but it’s the most dangerous one yet because it sucks me back to that warm summer night when we’d played the best game of pool of my life. I’d helped her with each shot. She’d wiggled her ass up against my crotch too many times to count. Just when I thought I was going to have to take her home then jerk off, she’d grabbed my hand and pulled me out to the 13th green behind Molly Merithew’s house.

Crickets chirped, punctuating her labored breathing. There was the slightest warm breeze tickling my skin. I never asked if it was the breeze or me that peaked her nipples when she shimmied out of her white eyelet linen top. I couldn’t really ask anything as Cam stripped naked behind the willow trees and let me have her for the first time, bathed in moonlight. When we snuggled under the stars she wore nothing but my flannel.

I never got that shirt back. I’d sworn off anything remotely related to vanilla, too—that’s what Cam tasted like.


That’s what the hidden taste in the bourbon was.

Fuck pool. Fuck this delicious bourbon. And fuck Cam Collins. 

Author Bio

Ace Gray is a self-proclaimed troublemaker and connoisseur
of both the good life and fairy tales. After a life-long love affair with
books, she undertook writing the novel she wanted to read, which culminated in
her first release STRICTLY BUSINESS and followed with, well, quite a few more.
When she’s not writing, she works in craft beer. Originally a small town,
Colorado girl, she now loves rainy days, shellac manicures, coffee shops and
bourbon—all of which are bountiful in her adopted home of Portland, OR where
she runs amok with her chef husband and husky pup.

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