Thursday, January 18, 2018

RELEASE BLITZ: An Uphill Battle by LK Farlow

A Southern Roots Standalone
Genre: New Adult


Azalea Barnes has hated Drake Collins since the day he broke her teenaged heart.

Fast forward almost seven years later and her libido still hasn't gotten the memo.

Now they're frenemies... with benefits.

Which suits Azalea just fine. She gets what her body craves while keeping her heart safe. Kind of.

Drake has loved Azalea since the day they met. He knows that she's his forever. Too bad she only sees him as a good time. He wants more. Needs more.

If only he could convince her that it's real this time. He's more determined than ever to prove to Azalea that chemistry like theirs doesn't exist only in the bedroom.

The odds may be against Drake, but he's prepared for an uphill battle.

~Book Review~
DNF @49%

I think the title sums up my reading. This really didn’t hold my attention, I didn’t connect with the characters, and I didn’t feel their connection or any chemistry. Now, I didn’t read the first book in this series so maybe Azalea Barnes and Drake Collins are introduced more intriguing in that one, but here it feels as if the reader is thrown into the middle of an existing friends-with-benefits situation. And then it’s several chapters till we’re given a tidbit of their history in flashbacks. 

Meanwhile, their friends are constantly commenting how these two are just made for each other, but that’s where the story suffers from tell rather than show. From my impression, she’s kinda bitchy to him; he’s kinda bossy to her. They are grown adults who met when he was 16 and she was 13. He claims he has been in love with her since the first time he saw her (again tell, definitely not show) and knew she was his future. Statements like that from the hero are seriously problematic in a romance. For one, there’s a big maturity and developmental difference between a 16 year old guy and a 13 year old girl so I’m not even going to touch on the ick factor with their initial attraction. But the other issue is him getting action elsewhere (in the past) when he claimed to be in love with her. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating them hooking up at those ages. For both of their emotional development, they probably should have seen other people, which is why insistences of ‘love at first sight’ in these scenarios just doesn’t work. So when she was 15 and he was 18 she made her move, which plays out about how a 15 year old girl with a crush and an about-to-start-college guy would probably go--a big bust. Of course, this could have been avoided if she would have 1) heard her friend out (h has a bad habit of not listening the the full story. 2) let H explain. Why many years later after they are already hooking up they still haven't talked this out, I don't know other than the communication between these two sucks! Plus, he doesn’t help matters with the way he handles things. I believed he wanted her in the present, but he was a dense shithead to put it bluntly the way he went about things with the OW. Anyways, add in some “small town” feel to this and it wasn’t appealing to me.

“‘A whole fucking lot of assumptions and nowhere near enough honesty.’”
That’s the words of one of his buddy's, and it pinpoints the problem with the nature of their immature relationship.

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“Drake Collins, I don’t see you on our appointment book today,” Seraphine says,wagging her finger at me with a twinkle in her dark brown eyes.

“That’s because I’m not. Does Azalea have time to fit me in?”

“Hmmm. Magnolia could fit you in quicker than—”

“Nah, I don’t mind the wait. How long’s it gonna be?”

“About twenty minutes.”

I turn, and make myself comfy in one of the waiting room chairs, “That’ll be just fine, Seraphine.”

She rolls her eyes at me, “I’ll let her know you’re here.”

“Totally unnecessary. It’s a surprise visit.”

Seraphine shakes her head at me, but goes back to whatever she was doing at the computer, thank God. Because I’m counting on the element of surprise to work in my favor here. If she knows I’m here, she’ll start working on getting her walls up, but if I catch her off guard, I might just catch her unguarded, if you know what I mean.

To pass the time, I play around on my phone, checking social media and shooting the shit with Simon and Cash in group text. I impress myself by only checking the time every five minutes, but my God, it really does feel like an eternity waiting on her.

I perk up when I hear the sound her sweet voice coming closer. “You have a wonderful day Mrs. Jones, and be sure to tell Seraphine to book extra time at your next appointment so that we can do those lowlights.”

She doesn’t walk far enough into the room to see me, so I stand and follow behind her to her station. She grabs the broom and starts sweeping, but jumps and throws it down when she sees me. “Holy guacamole, you scared the ba-jeezus outta me!”

I cover my smile with my fist, “I can see that.”

“What’re you doing here?”

“Need a haircut,” I tell her, claiming her chair.

She scowls her trademark scowl at me, her eyes drilling into me like lasers. “So, make an appointment.” She turns of walk away, but I reach out and snag her wrist.

“Don’t need one,” I tell her, knowing it will make her that much more irritated. I know these games are stupid, but her mad gets me so hot. 

“You most certainly do,” Azalea replies, her cheeks red with anger.

“Pretty sure there’s a sign in the window that reads ‘Walk-in’s welcome’. You’re certainly not making me feel very welcome. Not at all. Which, as the owner of this establishment, you should know is bad for business.” I tsk, wagging my finger at her.

 “Drake Ulysses Collins, you get your ass up right now!” Azalea hisses through clenched teeth. Her eyes are so big, they look like they might pop right on out of her head.

“Nah, don’t think so. You get your cute ass over here, and buzz my hair down.”

“Now.” It’s a battle of wills and I’m playing to win. We remain frozen, staring one another down, until she rolls her eyes and stomps back over to me, like I knew she would. Drake, 1. Azalea, 0.

With a snap of her wrists, she has the cape draped around me. She shoots me an evil gleam, before pulling it as tight as it will go, damn near choking me. “Take it easy, Bit,” I croak, only to be whopped upside the back of my head with her comb.

“What the hell?” I yell at her, but she just smiles and pops the guard she knows I like onto her clippers.

With one hand planted on the top of my head, she uses the other to move the clippers through my hair, buzzing it down in fluid movements. Azalea takes her time, dragging out my simple buzzcut because she thinks it’ll annoy me. She couldn’t be more wrong. Hell, for half the haircut, her perky C cups are all up in my face, and for the rest of it… her hands are on me, and there’s not a single thing annoying about any of that. No, I fucking love it.

“There, all done assface.”

“Assface, huh? That an invitation?”

“God! You’re so gross!”

Grasping the front of the cape with both hands, I pull until it unsnaps. Rising from the chair, I take two steps toward Azalea, effectively backing her into her station.

“Gross? You think I’m gross?”  I gently run my nose up her neck, lingering just below her ear. “Naw, you don’t mean
that, do you?” My voice is hoarse and low, the sound of it causes Azalea’s skin to break out in goosebumps.

“Sure do,” she fires back, but her tone—all soft with want— betrays her words.

I take a step closer, leaving not even an inch between us, “We both know you’re lying through your teeth, but that’s okay Bit. Best be glad we’re in your place of business, or I’d call your bluff.” I cover her lips with mine and tunnel my

fingers into her long, blonde hair. “Or maybe I still will,” I speak the words against her lips, delighting in the feel of her rapid breaths. “Right here. Right now.” I punctuate the words with a kiss, hard and rough, before stepping back.

Azalea stands there, bracing herself against her station, almost as if she’d crumple to the floor without its support, and damn if that doesn’t make me feel like the king of the world. “Thanks for the haircut. You have a nice day, and when I

call you later… answer.”

LK Farlow (A.K.A Kate) is a small town girl with a love for words. She’s been writing stories and poems for as long she can remember. A Southern girl through and through, Kate resides in beautiful, sunny LA—that’s Lower Alabama, y’all—with her amazing husband and three wonderful children. When she’s not writing, you can find her snuggled up on the couch watching nature  documentaries while she crochets or with her nose in a book. All Kate really wants in this life is her family happy, strong coffee, a good book and more Happily Ever After’s.



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