Sunday, March 30, 2014

Book Tour for The Heart Knows What the Heart Wants by Lori L. Clark (Review & GIVEAWAY)

I've become a big fan of the NA genre over the last few months and am always on the lookout for new-to-me authors writing these gritty and emotionally intense romances.  Today I'm excited to introduce you to The Heart Knows What the Heart Wants by Lori L. Clark which puts readers through the wringer on the way to an uplifting conclusion.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win a $10 Amazon GC and 1 of 2 e-copies of this book too!

Estelle "Star" Falconé, a thirty-year-old tattooed bartender, was once a free-spirited dreamer who dabbled in astrology for fun and secretly dreamed of becoming a rock-star some day.
Twenty-one-year-old Shane Harper was once the star of his high school basketball team. With a full ride scholarship, his dream was to play college basketball and study planetary science. When a tragic car accident permanently sidelines his basketball career, college is out of the question.
Sparks fly when their two worlds collide.
Can a relationship survive between a thirty-year-old starry-eyed woman who's on the run from an extremely dangerous man, and a twenty-one-year-old science guy who's hell-bent on protecting her at all cost?


"What did you dream about becoming when you grew up?" he asked as he studied her face intently. "You know, like a ballerina, or nurse, or something?"
Without hesitation she replied, "A singer."
"You're a good singer?"
She snorted, "Oh God no. I can't carry a tune...which is probably why I never became a famous rock star. What about you, what did you want to be?" she asked. Besides hot.
All traces of happy drained from his face and he sighed. "A rocket scientist." Star's eyes widened. His flippant answer wasn't a joke -- his face was void of humor. "Actually, I was supposed to go to college to study planetary science."
"What happened? Why didn't you go?" she asked.
He stared silently for a few seconds. "Skip. Besides, it's my turn. You aren't allowed to ask two in a row."
She picked up her pen and added that question to the bottom of the list. "Okay, next," she told him.
"How many tattoos do you have?" he asked.
"Two," she said. She pushed up her shirt sleeve and pointed to the blue planet on the back of her hand. "You've seen Neptune."
"Okay, look. This doesn't count as one of my questions. But I'm dying here. What's the other tattoo, and where is it?" he asked leaning forward, resting his elbows on the table.
"It's over my heart and it's just a saying," she said, patting her chest with her right hand.
"What saying?"
She bit her lip and replied, "The heart knows what the heart wants."
"Beautiful." He spoke the word so softly, she wasn't sure he'd said it at all. He pushed back his chair and stood. He rubbed the back of his neck. She fascinated him and he couldn't get enough of her. "I've got to go home and clean my apartment. I've got company coming over later, and I don't want her to think I'm a complete slob."
Star felt as though she'd taken a sucker punch to the stomach. "Oh. Well yeah. You wouldn't want her to think that," she said. She hoped the disappointment she felt over him having some other female in his apartment didn't show on her face.
He reached out, cupped her cheek with his hand, and brushed the pad of his thumb across her skin. "What time should I expect you?" he asked.
Pleased with his response, she raised her eyes to meet his, and smiled. "Six?"
He nodded. "Six it is." He smiled and dropped his hand to his side before turning to leave.




As a child the future seems full of possibilities, but as we grow up things happen that derail those dreams.  For Star and Shane those things were tragic and life-altering and left both emotional and physical scars behind.  It's this mutual pain that brings them together while their age difference (and her fear of opening up) have her fighting their obvious attraction.  With her past getting closer to her everyday it's Shane and her newfound circle of friends that will stand beside her and help her acheive the new dreams Shane's love and support has fostered in her.

Star never knew her father and her mother cared more about men than her daughter.  Looking for love in all the wrong places led her to Derek who abused her mentally and physically.  He took away her self-esteem, her trust in others, and turned her into a scared mouse who hated herself for being unable to leave.  Realizing that it was only a matter of time before he kills her has her running for her life and into a small town where she finds an unexpected sense of family and a young man who truly understands her and gives her back everything Derek beat out of her.  Slowly Star regains her self-esteem, becomes more outspoken and vocal, and starts dreaming of the future instead of just existing.  I admired this new Star and applauded her picking herself up and dusting herself off.  Though the age difference between her and Shane bothered her, she needed him to heal and I'm glad she finally allowed herself the happiness of being with him.

Shane once had dreams too, as the star basketball player with a scholarship that was going to get him out of his small town.  But one bad decision resulted in a car accident that killed his girlfriend and his future because of a permanently damaged knee.  Between that and his mother's death life felt as if it stopped and to find anything worth feeling led him to drugs, drinking, and sex.  He's put all that behind him though the emotional pain still haunts him at night.  He hides his pain well though behind an infectious grin, a charming nature, and being boyishly sexy.  I absolutely adored him and his interactions with Star!  He could sense her trepidation and bonded with her as a friend first before letting her know he wanted more.  All their scenes oozed sexual tension as evidenced by the witty dialogue and playful sexual innuendoes and these interactions put a smile on my face.  Shane is exactly what Star needed and he needed her as well to get him out of his rut and make something of himself to be the kind of man she deserved.

This was a hard story to read early on as Derek's abuse was vividly depicted with each blow being felt by us readers.  Knowing Derek wasn't going to give up on Star kept me on edge and added a layer of foreboding to the story as his rage escalated.  Star's evolution from meek to strong-willed though was richly rewarding and cheer-inducing.  Shane was utterly charming and he won me over even more by being open with his feelings and is still in my dreams as he represents the quintessential hero in my mind.  Throw in a delightful cast of secondary characters who help Star resurrect her dreams and you have a powerful and ultimately heartwarming story.  Though the ending felt a bit rushed with Derek's comeuppance not as rewarding as I'd hoped, I still found myself clapping at the end for all the possibilities laid out for Shane and Star.  This was my first book by Ms. Clark but won't be my last as she crafted a compelling story highlighting what draws me to the NA genre and I highly recommend it!

My rating for this is an A-

*I received this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Lori L. Clark was born in Iowa, where she spent the first forty-six years of her life. In 2007, she loaded up a moving van and relocated to Missouri, where she currently resides. Lori's only child is a very spoiled Min Pin named Barkley. When not writing, she reads and runs. She completed her first half marathon at the age of fifty.
In 2009, after participating in NANOWRIMO, she began to take seriously the voices in her head. Two New Adult contemporary romance novels, Different Roads, and I Breathe You, were published in 2013, and showed early success. The Heart Knows What the Heart Wants is set to release in March 2014, and has her venturing into the realms of Romantic Suspense.
Lori is a member of Savvy Authors, the St. Louis Writers Guild, and Romance Writers of America.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

No comments:

Post a Comment