Unlike Any Other
Unexpected series #1
by Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
The name AJ Colthurst may not have any meaning to the public eye, but it should, as I’m the daughter of two famous celebrities. Like any superstar, they crave privacy; so much of it, they built a house in the middle of nowhere for us children. As we grew older, we discovered the lies they built as a fort to protect us from the media, ended up causing emotional damage along the way.
I carry a portion of the guilt on my shoulders; the other part I discovered is the separation of my parents. Their unorthodox ways may have driven me bonkers, but knowing they are no longer together is unacceptable.
That’s why I decided to rattle their cage by reminding at least one of my parents of the past and the reason they belong together. They need to remember why their love is so perfect and why they have to fight to keep it alive. Even if it means I have to dredge up some of my own painful memories along the way.
Back in the early eighties, I set myself to succeed in the financial world. The first step had been moving to New York City to become a stockbroker, but things didn’t work out the way I had hoped. Instead, I ended up making movies and by the end of the decade, Gabe Colt had become a famous name. The downside to my career of choice: the paparazzi. In order to protect my family and our privacy, I maintained my family away from the circus. It had been for their own good; a decision we had made before we started our family.
“So that’s it; bye, bye to the old, hello Twinkie wife?”
His gaze drops and I take it as a yes.
“Where is the big love, the one that happens once in a lifetime? What happened to it? If you lost it like that, then there’s no hope for the rest of us, Dad.”
No wonder my relationship fell apart like it did. The dreamer in me thought back to my sixteen-year-old self when I thought I had found the great love that could withstand everything. I claimed to have what my parents had … almost three years later reality slapped me, no, reality crushed me.
Gabriel doesn’t speak. He has no comeback or comment to what I say. He makes a one-eighty degree turn and stares out at the blue sea.
I don’t count how long he’s immobilized in front of the window, nor do I move. However, after what feels like hours, he extends his hand and curls his fingers toward me. The moment I’m next to him, he puts his arm around my shoulder and hugs me tight, kissing the top of my head.
I hug my dad for the first time in years and my back relaxes.
“You can stay together in the name of love just for so long, AJ,” his voice has lost all the strength, the shield is down.
My body and soul identify with his, we’re defeated, sad and with only so much energy left to continue.
This is one of the traits we share, putting on a brave front while withering inside.
“Lately, I wonder if what we had justified being together for so long.” I hate those words as he lets them out. “Was it real or a fantasy we built and once reality hit we couldn’t keep it together. It hurts, being apart is painful—I won’t lie.”
Really, it hurts? Because there’s a woman outside—pregnant. I want to yell at him, my teeth grind, but I don’t let my anger get the best of me.
“It was mutual, we came to the conclusion that we wanted different things, our lives were going in different directions, and now I’m trying to build something—a new life?”
The uncertainty in his voice is a gift, a speckle of light that gives me hope. The words… well, they sound like a speech they—my parents agreed on giving us. That’s the way they were while growing up, one parental front. I don’t want to jump to conclusions, but my money is on him. Gabriel called it off.
This is unfair. My parents drove me insane with their rules. Their crazy ideas and lies to the outside world. However, they are a match made in heaven. They are like milk and cookies, one can’t go without the other.
“This is wrong.” I shake my head. “You can’t finish a once in a lifetime love story like that,” I weakly claim. “Each time you told the story, it didn’t sound as if you made some sacrifices for us. It sounded as if you did it out of love. Am I wrong? Would you like to revise your story?”
He shakes his head.
“You should. Let’s do a play-by-play,” I suggest. “Maybe you can come clean and clear up all the lies you added to it when you told it as we grew up.”
“They weren’t lies,” he defends himself. “Maybe we skipped a few details… not many. We couldn’t disclose everything to our small children.”
“Once upon a time I thought I found what you did, Dad,” my bottom lip quivers, but I continue, “but everything crumbled, and… now I’m a cynic who doesn’t want to feel or believe. You’re proving me right, love is a shitty thing.”
“It isn’t, I can prove you wrong.”
“I’m all ears, Dad.”
Unlike Any Other
★✩★✩★ 5 – One more chance, babe – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
“A love story, his and mine. Ordinary and yet extraordinary. One, unlike any other. You know how they say there's not two fingerprints alike in the world... like that.”
This book took me completely by surprise and I loved every damn minute of it. It was so much more than just a romance – it was definitely that – but it was also about second chances, forgiveness, self-discovery, and above all else – family. This family was falling apart at the seams, but they all came together to try to figure out where they went wrong. AJ may have had a falling out with her parents, but it was clear right from the beginning how very much she missed them and was struggling without them. When she literally flew home to confront her father, her brothers JC and MJ (Triplets BTW) were not far behind and they were determined to set things right. I loved the way we jumped from past to present as not only did AJ share the trauma she went through that led to her walking away from her family, but her father told the story of how he met and fell in love with his other half. This story just shows how we don't get to choose who we fall in love with, it chooses us, sometimes in the most unexpected ways. The story of Gabe and his soul mate was a thing of beauty and watching it unfold was just inspiring, and yes – heartbreaking at times. I will admit to some serious shock at the twist thrown at us about half way through the book – I should have seen it coming and I still don't know how I missed it, I even back tracked just to see how well the author covered her tracks up til that point (flawlessly, by the way) but in the end, it made perfect sense and just added another incredible layer to the story. There will be tears, lots of angst and drama, a ton of laughs, steamy connections, love and a family unlike any other. And while we don't necessarily end on a cliffhanger, it set up the next book perfectly. I cannot wait to see what our geeky superhero Mason has to offer us, Porter still concerns me, and frankly the more time I get to spend with this family the happier I'll be.
I didn't want to give it up
You stole it
It's now with you
My love, my heart, my soul.
Love is not always what you think,
You don't choose, it chooses you.
Unexpected series #2
by Claudia Burgoa
Genre: Romance, Contemporary
The lies between my parents and I came to light and now I’m working on a new life for myself. Along the way, I have my trusty superhero, Mason, to lean on when I have a hard time standing or when my crazy ex-boyfriend continues to feel he has a claim on me.
Porter has trouble understanding that there hasn’t been an ‘us’ for more than three years plus all the issues he had brought upon himself. My father was right, drugs do kill. My other concern is the growing feelings I am having regarding Mason. There’s something between us I want to explore but I keep getting mixed signals. Here, I thought that after telling my parents about my lies and having their full support, things wouldn’t be as complicated as they are.
My parents divorced before I even made my entrance into this world. My father has been obsessed with that love for years while my mother searches for love in all the wrong places. I don’t want a place to call home or a girl I can claim as mine. Except… Ainsley Janine –better known as ‘Nine’—has some special power that makes me question my preferences. The more I try to stay away from her, the more she pulls me closer.
Exploring the possibilities of having something steady in my life isn’t a problem; it’s the long term that worries me. In addition to that, the scumbag she dated years ago keeps popping up everywhere we go. If I could use my license to kill, maybe I can stop worrying about one thing and concentrate on what to do with the green eyed girl who keeps me awake most nights.
Add the book to Goodreads ➜ https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25454275-unsurprisingly-complicated
I come out of the shower and head to my closet. The second shower in the past two hours. Our romantic second date was running. Some watch movies, others go to galleries, and a few repeat the dinner scene. We went for a jog. Well, we jogged and chatted at Washington Park Arboretum. A great experience, as we had a regular Mason-Ainsley interaction: work, my plans for the school, why I quit the substitute gigs.
I check myself in the full-size mirror while combing my hair. Today, I’m not trying to impress anyone, not even myself. A white tank top, a black maxi skirt, and a pair of flat sandals will have to serve its purpose. I pull my hair into a bun. Today’s a cleaning house and running errands kind of day. There’s a shopping list on my phone that MJ sent over; those two swear I’m their executive assistant. Maybe later, I can head to the farmers market for some fresh fruit for their place and mine. But before I do any of those, I head to the kitchen to grab a snack. But before I reach the kitchen, the bell rings. I walk to the kitchen and check the monitor above the refrigerator. One of the front porch cameras shows Mason’s grainy face; the other camera, his broad shoulders covered by a dark t-shirt.
“In a minute,” I say pressing the intercom button.
“Forgot something?” I question as I swing the door open.
His eyes sweep over my body, from head to bottom and all the way back. That cocky grin appears, but I only see it for a few seconds as Mason’s lips take possession of mine. It’s only a quick taste that leaves my mouth needing more. “This kissing you whenever I want is better than any video game I’ve ever played.”
“You’re such a geek, Mason Bradley.” My voice comes out dreamy because we both know that video games are one of his passions, and my kisses trump that. “Not that I mind you kissing me senseless, but you left twenty minutes ago saying ‘thank you for the best second date’ and I assumed you called it a day.”
“Date number two is over.” He lifts his arm, and I notice he’s holding a grocery bag. “We’re on date number three, Nine. Breakfast time!” His excited voice resonates through the walls.
My spine straightens, and I tilt my head as I stare into his gray eyes. “Three dates in less than twenty-four hours? That’s cheating the system.” In fact, part of yesterday’s conversation replays in my head. The exact words were, ‘I’m leaving later tonight for a job.’ “What happened to that mission you had last night?” I cross my arms, my eyes become two slits and my foot taps on the floor.
“I delegated.” He lifts a shoulder slightly then slumps his entire back. Not sure if he’s being casual about it or regretting it. “Maybe I wanted to accelerate the process when you mentioned that five date rule. However, after you stopped obsessing with having the perfect date and loosened up, I got to enjoy parts of you I’ve never had before.” He gives me a peck on the lips. “Including the physical portion of a relationship. Today I want to spend more time with you.”
Surprising, yet expected. For a guy who doesn’t believe, he’s wooing with his own style. Yet I’ve always known he’s sweet.
© Claudia Burgoa 2015
★✩★✩★ 5 – nine and ten, always go together. Forever – Stars ★✩★✩★
~this review may contain minor spoilers~
“You know what my problem is, Mase – you scare me. This entire situation – you can snap my heart in two and there won't be a Mason to pick me up from the hole this time.”
“Silly girl. Nine, you scare the shit out of me, too.”
“Silly girl. Nine, you scare the shit out of me, too.”
His words comfort me. I'm not alone in this. In fact, with him I'm never alone.
This series just continues to amaze me – book one pulled me under, and this one kept me there – I can't get enough of this family!! Mason was a total surprise, one I never saw coming. From book one we see him as this geeky guy, totally into video game and superheros, but other than that he was a complete mystery. Turns out, he has a total James Bond thing going on and it was hott-as-hell. I have never had such a mixed reaction to a characters before. I was constantly back and forth between wanting to hug him and strangle him, hump his leg or beat his ass. This guy had some serious issues and was so far up his own ass he couldn't see straight. But there was no doubt that Ainsley (his nine) was his kryptonite, even if he didn't always see it, or refused to acknowledge it. He was just always there for her, through everything, from the time they were kids, so I completely understood her fear of loosing that. Her character has evolved so much throughout the last two books it was amazing. The bitter, lonely AJ from book one is long gone and though she still has some well earned issues, she is working through them determined to get her life on track, and she never gives up hope that she'll one day have a love like her parents share. The interactions between her and her brothers, hell – even her parents, was freakin hilarious. The cock-blocking men in her life love that girl something fierce and will do whatever it takes to keep her from getting hurt by anyone else the way Porter did. They all feel terrible that they weren't there when she needed them most, didn't see what was going on with her back then, and are making up for it in spades now. In addition to all the people we have already fallen in love with, we have the added bonus of a few new ones through Mase's work – Wings and Kowalski, as well as their wives, were fab additions to the crew. This book, this series, has been a perfect mix of drama, angst, tears, laughs, love and family and the steam kicks up a few notches in this one. Mason was.... well there's a reason I mentioned wanting to hump his leg, and any part of him for that matter. He mastered the art of fucking things up, but he was pretty suave at the making up part too. The whole Porter situation has me in knots. I hate the guy, HATE HIM, even more so after this book, but at the same time.... I kinda want to see him happy. The crap he has pulled was unforgivable, but I do believe he loved AJ in his own way, as much as he was capable of anyway – he just has a truly shitty way of showing it and the guy really does need help. Only time will tell if my opinion of him will change. We are once again left with an ending that gave me the warm and fuzzies but still managed to set up the next book – JC's. I am dying to see what he brings us and am more than a little curious about his story. Plus, I just want to spend more time with this amazing group of characters. As close as they all are, no matter whose story is being told, I have a feeling we will still be getting to spend a good amount of time will all of them in the future. Claudia Burgoa has definitely landed herself a spot on my One-Click-Addiction List with this series one giggle, blush and tears at a time, and I cannot wait to see what she brings us next.
“As long as there's love, the rest solves itself in one way or another.”
She now lives in Colorado working as a CFO for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.
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