Tuesday, August 18, 2015

BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & GIVEAWAY: Unlikely Allies by C.C. Koen

Unlikely Allies by C.C. Koen 
Publication Date: June 13, 2015 
Genres: Contemporary, Romance 



What happens when a single mom’s four-year-old daughter falls in love with Mr. Right and she doesn’t?

Maggie Tyson’s rule: no bad boys. Her incarcerated ex-husband broke her of that attraction. Needing to escape his threats and the scrutiny of the people in her hometown, Maggie relocates to New York City. Determined to not make the same mistakes, she has a mile-long list of dos and don’ts. Unfortunately, her daughter, Cecily, doesn’t like to follow them. When Cecily wanders away from her and right into Rick Stone’s office, Maggie knows he’s the exact type she’s been trying to avoid. Can she resist him or will she succumb to his willful charm? 

Rick Stone’s rule: bed them don’t wed them. Running a multi-billion dollar business doesn’t leave him with much time to do anything else, particularly with an overbearing grandfather breathing down his neck. But when a man works hard, he needs to play even harder. Voted America’s most eligible bachelor, Rick doesn’t have any problems getting women into his bed—except one. 

Two auburn beauties stumble into his life. 
One will break his heart. 
The other—heal it. 
Will he love or leave them?


My Review

When I read the synopsis of this book, I knew I had to read it. I was only about 1/2 way done with it when I posted in a author's FB group that I was going to gift someone a copy. I loved it that much and I wanted others to read it.

I love when the Hero forms a tight relationship with the heroine's children. In this case, Rick meets Cece before he meets her mother, Maggie. Cece wanders in his office looking for her pet rat and immediately starts talking to him like she has known him forever. Rick is immediately taken by this little girl and I knew right then and there that he was goner!

And just like Rick, I fell in love with Cece as soon she opened her mouth. That little girl made me laugh and the fact that she had Rick wrapped around her little finger was just icing on the cake. Rick never thought he wanted a family of his own, but that little girl managed to knock him of his axis and made him rethink what he really wanted out of life.

When it came to Maggie, Rick had to work to make her even think about going out with him. Despite the fact that Cece talked about Rick all the time and obviously loved him, Maggie was wary of starting anything. Her past has caused her to have all these rules on how to live her life and those rules sometime got in the way of doing the right thing. Eventually Maggie does give in and they start to get close. To say their relationship is rocky is an understatement, but Rick doesn't give up.

Cece and Rick were so adorable. More than once I found myself getting emotional because I was struck by how special their relationship was. Rick truly did think of her as his own and despite the fact that Maggie wanted nothing to do with him, she allowed Cece to spend time with Rick. It was just so freaking cute. Maggie made me crazy. Like her friends and family, I wanted to shake Maggie, yell at her to open her eyes and see what a wonderful man Rick was. He was nothing like her ex and comparing the two was just asinine.

There were so many wonderful moments, both funny and poignant, between Cece and Rick. Below is an excerpt of one of the more serious moments.
“Max.” Cece’s shout sounded farther away than right over Maggie’s shoulder, where she’d been a second ago. In an instant, Maggie jumped up from her knees and sprinted after her daughter galloping toward the street, and as Cece reached out to grab Rick, the balloons floated into the air.
Parked on the other side of the road, Rick jogged across, yelling, “Stop,” at the same time Maggie did. All three of them came to a standstill at the curb. He swooped Cece into the safety of his protective arms before her feet touched the pavement. Maggie wrapped her arms around her daughter’s waist and caught a piece of his T-shirt too. Smashed together, one of his hands loosened from Cece’s back and captured the hollow of Maggie’s in a stranglehold. The cars passing by and her startled, heavy breathing faded away as she got lost in their heart-pounding embrace. A squeeze on her hip pulled her head off Cece’s shoulder and up to Rick’s enlarged and a little freaked-out eyes.
“It’s my birfday.” Cece grabbed both of his cheeks, smashing them together as her megawatt-level announcement ensured everyone within five blocks understood the significance of the all-about-me occasion.
“That’s why I’m here, sweet pea.” He placed an endearing kiss on Cece’s temple, resting there for quite a while.
Unaware of the potential tragedy or that she’d done something wrong, Cece asked, “Whatcha get me?”
The happy-go-lucky responses he used when talking to Cece hadn’t made an appearance yet. Instead, his serious business tone remained. “What do you see behind me, Cece?”
Her eyebrows scrunched together, and Cece shrugged, not understanding. But Maggie caught on. Curious how he might handle the matter, she let him take the lead. After the party, she’d take her turn at the lecture, which she’d given before.
“See the cars? See how fast they’re going?”
Cece ducked around his shoulder, bobbing her head as a mini-van and sedan passed by. Situated in a circular cul-de-sac, their neighborhood had a twenty-five-mile speed limit and didn’t have highway traffic. Regardless, Cece should have realized the possibility of being hit existed.
“What would happen if you went out there and a car didn’t see you or couldn’t stop?”
Her head tucked against his shoulder and face flushed as Cece whispered against his neck, “I get a booboo.”
He pressed his mouth to Cece’s ear and said with tears pooled in his eyes, “If you got a booboo, I’d be so sad. It would break my heart.”
Unable to contain her own waterworks, one after another trickled over Maggie’s cheeks and dripped off her quivering chin. She fell in love with him right then and there, nestled in his arms, emotions exploding all over the place. The seriousness of what might have happened and reeling from her overwhelming discovery, the realizations should’ve dropped her to her knees. Yet his firm hold steadied her and kept her on her feet. 
For me, the story was all about Cece and Rick, not Maggie and Rick. Scenes like the one above melted my heart on more than once occasion. But my heart also broke for Rick multiple times during the book because he really wanted to make a life with Maggie and Cece, but Maggie kept pushing him away. Rick had a lot of love to give and once he met Cece and Maggie, he realized that he wanted to give it to them. Being a father figure came natural to him, but it helped that Cece made it easy.

The author included a fantastic epilogue! I love epilogues, especially if the book is a stand alone. I like to imagine that everyone has a long and happy life, but when the author lays it out for the reader, that is even better. It was the perfect way to end the books. So thank you, CC, for the amazing epilogue!

C.C. Koen writes contemporary romance with a twist. An avid reader who enjoys mystery and suspense, her stories will never be what you expect. Determined to find adventure in her dreams and life, she enjoys skydiving, sailing and any activity that challenges her. Teacher by day, romance writer at night produce an active imagination that comes to life in her writing.

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