October 6, 2016

BLOG TOUR REVIEW & EXCERPT: Down Shift (Driven #8)

Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for K. Bromberg's eighth book set in her Driven world, DOWN SHIFT. Read on for my review and an excerpt that, if it doesn't make you want to read this book NOW, then I don't know what will.

Down Shift (Driven #8), by K. Bromberg
Publish Date:
October 4, 2016
Publisher: Signet
Format: ARC, provided by the publisher
Genre: adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Rating: 4.5 STARS

(Synopsis) Behind the wheel, racing champion Zander Donavan is at the top of his game. But after too much excess in his personal life, he’s forced to step away. He needs to accomplish something all on his own—outside of his famous father’s shadow. 

Getty Caster is running away from the abuse that clouds her past. She thinks she’s found the perfect escape—until she discovers a stranger in the beachside cottage she’d been promised. He’s undeniably sexy, but she’s there to heal. Alone.

Before long though, fighting with each other turns into fighting their attraction. And giving into desire sets off a chain reaction that has their pasts colliding. With an unexpected love on the line, can they overcome the fallout to build a future?

I have to admit - I wasn't prepared to love grown-up, sexy Zander Donovan as much as I did. I still pictured him as that scared, sweet 7-year-old boy from the original Driven series books. It was surprisingly easy to adapt to this new, moody, dirty-talking sex god.

Must take after his adoptive father.

Zander is now a racing phenom just like Colton. But, Zander's past has caught up to him, and he now finds himself spiraling out of control and lashing out at anyone within striking distance. He thinks it best to remove himself from his loved ones' presence to get his head on straight. So, he heads to a beach house owned by a member of his team. And finds a naked woman already there. 

Getty Caster is trying to remake herself into someone new after several abusive relationships took her down to her rock bottom. She was looking forward to peace and solitude as she came to terms with who she wanted the new her to be. So, abrasive, intrusive, gorgeous Zander was most definitely NOT part of her plan. But, as they reluctantly get to know one another, they realize that sometimes plans can change for the best. 

When I learned Kristy Bromberg was writing a book about little Zander, it was a bit of a disconnect for me. I thought there was no way I could erase the image of him as a kid from my brain in order to embrace the man he has become. Okay, so I was wrong about that. Some things never change - I still felt heartbroken over what Zander was going through, even though his problems now are a bit different than they were when he was a kid. Colton is still an amazing dad (yes - you get some awesome scenes with him). And Zander still loves racing. 

But, other things DO change. How Zander handles his problems now have a much bigger impact on many other lives. And Zander's charm and way with words can make a woman swoon in 5 seconds flat.

"I want you on the kitchen counter, the patio, in your bed, in the woods. I'll take you anywhere you'll have me, Getty, because you make me want you that bad, and I'm not a man who wants much at all. So, when you doubt whatever it is you'll doubt when we're finished here, I want you to remember this. All of it. Because I will deliver on that promise." 

I loved how he was with Getty, who is very obviously fresh from her own tragedy. He didn't read her with kid gloves. He didn't play games with her. They might not share every aspect of their situations right from the get-go, but he made it clear to her where he was in his life and what he could give her. That earned some major respect from me, since you see secrets and lies all the time in romance books. 

"I'm showing you where the lighthouse is, Getty. Giving you a way out. It's up to you to decide if you want to step into my storm before it passes through or head for safety. I can't decide for you."

But, Zander also wasn't one to shy away from his feelings when he realized they were changing. He never failed to protect Getty when she needed it. And, he didn't shirk his responsibilities. Zander has grown up to be an incredible man, and Getty was the perfect woman for him and his lifestyle. 

Now that Zander's story is out there, I want to hear from the rest of the boys, including Ace. 

“You don’t know anything about me.” My voice is slight but strong, my need to assert myself front and center despite his calling me on the carpet.

“That’s where you’re wrong, Socks. I might not know where you’re from or why I ruffled your feathers today, but I know you’re stronger than you give yourself credit for. Whatever it is that you ran from back home, you did it. You got out and are making it on your own. That takes guts and you deserve mad props for that. I know you like things messy and are goddamn cute when you’re tipsy. I know you’re stubborn as hell and gorgeous as fuck. And that your kiss tastes like an aged whiskey: something I want to sip slowly, feel on my lips, savor on my tongue, and take my time with before I get drunk on it.” With a lift of his eyebrows and a nod of his head, he walks past me, leaving me with my mouth agape and eyes wide.

I can’t move. Just stand staring at the door in front of me as I try to process what he just said, what he meant by it, and yet there’s no use because we just had a whole one-sided conversation and that need to banter with him is gone. Lost to the tingling in my lower belly and the wild spinning of my thoughts.

“Oh, and, Getty?” Zander calls out to me from the kitchen, refusing to continue until I turn to face him, standing there unabashedly shirtless. “If you ever call me pretty again, we’re gonna have a real problem. I guarantee you there is nothing pretty about me.”

I almost smile at the fact that out of all of the crappy things I said to him, that is the one that bugged him the most.

“You are kind of pretty, though,” I murmur, unable to resist goading him further, needing to try to get us back on an even playing field. Because hell if right now I don’t feel like I’m on the low end of the teeter-totter.

His immediate response? A snort to signify that his chiseled abs and the tall, dark, and handsome thing he’s got going on are nothing more than average.

“Last warning, Socks.” His eyes flash with mirth. And what looks like desire.

An unexpected part of me—the one who usually hides and doesn’t ever take a chance—wants to say it again. Just to see what he’d do if I did.

“So damn pretty.” I don’t know who’s more shocked at my comment, him or me, but we stand there for a moment, gazes locked, unspoken words warring across the distance between us.

He walks toward me with a predatory gleam in his eyes and a salacious smirk on his lips that catches me off guard. “I know I said you were brave, Getty, but now you’re just playing with matches.”

I draw in a long inhale as he steps right in front of me. I can’t look at him. My nerve is suddenly gone. Outside, rain pelts the roof. The constant drip into the bucket in the hallway serves as a metronome to this anticipatory silence we are dancing in. The goose bumps on his chest are the only thing I can focus on.

When his thumb and forefinger direct my chin up so I’m forced to meet his eyes, every part of me hums from his touch. From the want of something I don’t quite understand myself and couldn’t ever put into words. Our eyes meet—his intense, mine searching for answers that aren’t his to give—before his gaze flicks down to my mouth and then back up again.

“Not yet, Getty.” He closes his eyes for a beat, and I see what I think is restraint reflected in his grimace, before a ghost of a smile spreads on his lips. “I don’t think you’re ready to light this fire just yet.”

New York Times Bestselling author K. Bromberg writes contemporary novels that contain a mixture of sweet, emotional, a whole lot of sexy and a little bit of real. She likes to write strong heroines and damaged heroes who we love to hate and hate to love.

She’s a mixture of most of her female characters: sassy, intelligent, stubborn, reserved, outgoing, driven, emotional, strong, and wears her heart on her sleeve. All of which she displays daily with her husband and three children where they live in Southern California.

On a whim, K. Bromberg decided to try her hand at this writing thing. Since then she has written The Driven Series (Driven, Fueled, Crashed, Raced, Aced), the standalone Driven Novels (Slow Burn, Sweet Ache, Hard Beat, and Down Shift, and a short story titled UnRaveled. She is currently finishing up Sweet Cheeks a standalone novel out at the end of 2016.

Her plans for 2017 include a sports romance duet (The Player (#1) and The Catch (#2)) and the Everyday Heroes series (Cuffed (#1), Combust (#2), and Cockpit (#3). She’s also writing a novella for the 1,001 Dark Night series that will be out in February 2017.

She loves to hear from her readers so make sure you check her out on social media.

Learn more about K. Bromberg --> Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Pinterest | Amazon

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