Sunday, November 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Protecting Alabama by Susan Stoker

Title: Protecting Alabama
Author: Susan Stoker
Release Date: Oct 17, 2014
Find on Goodreads

Alabama didn’t have a good start to life. Emotionally and physically abused by her mama, Alabama spent her high school years in foster care. People let her down, time after time, and she’d learned to rely on only herself. 
Christopher “Abe” Powers earned his nickname because he tolerated nothing less than absolute honesty from the people around him. Finding the bar scene stale and having watched his friend and teammate, Wolf, find the woman of his dreams, Abe was determined to find someone to share his life with too. 
Alabama and Abe had no idea their paths would cross and their prayers would be answered, but like most things in life, nothing is ever as easy as it seems at first. Two words would change both their lives and they’d have to fight hard for their happy ever after. 
**Protecting Alabama is the 2nd book in the SEAL of Protection Series. It can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s recommended you read the books in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the series.

“I want to kiss you sweet. Will you let me?”
Alabama simply nodded. 
The hand at her cheek shifted to the back of her neck. He’d cupped her in a firm but strangely gentle grip and shifted closer to her. He’d rested his forehead against hers and just held her there for a moment. 
“I’ve been wanting to do this since you opened your door to me last week. You have no idea…”
Then he brought his other hand up to her face and cupped it. She was sandwiched between the hand at the back of her neck and the one on her face. She didn’t feel trapped, she felt protected. Christopher tilted her head just so and swooped in for his kiss. For some reason Alabama had thought he’d take it slow. Everything he’d done so far had been easy and gentle, but this kiss wasn’t either of those. 
It was a confident kiss, a kiss that demanded she open and let him in. And she did. Alabama didn’t hold back. Their lips met and immediately parted. She felt his tongue do an initial sweep of her mouth then retreat to tease and caress her lips before plunging back in. Alabama tried to keep up, swirling her tongue around his and at one point taking his tongue and sucking on it. She thought she’d feel awkward and uneasy, but she’d been so aroused she didn’t have time to be embarrassed or uneasy.
At that point Christopher took the hand that had been on her cheek and put it on her back and laid her down against the cushions of the couch. He kept his hand at her neck supporting her head as he eased her down. Alabama didn’t even notice…until she felt his hardness against her. He never stopped his sensual exploration of her mouth, but she could feel his strength over her. He wasn’t crushing her, in fact his body felt good pressing against hers. She could feel his length against her leg; he was hard, all over. 
Alabama breathed in through her nose and pressed her head back, breaking contact with his lips. Without missing a beat Christopher had leaned down and put his mouth against her neck, nipping and sucking lightly. Her breath came out in pants and she tried to get her brain to start working again. 
“Now that was a kiss,” she’d said breathlessly. She heard him chuckle against her throat before he moved up and nipped her earlobe. 
“You make me lose my mind, sweet.” 
One part of Alabama wanted to do nothing more than stand up and lead him to her small bed in the corner, but the other part of her was terrified. She’d trusted before and been let down. She didn’t think he’d break her trust, but she wasn’t certain yet. 
She’d brought her hands down from his back where she’d been clutching at him and put them on his chest. He’d immediately reared up so he could see her face. Of course that pushed his erection harder into her thigh, making her blush. He’d laughed and kissed her lightly on the nose. He sat them both up and brought her into his side. 
“Thank you Alabama, that was the best kiss I’ve ever had.”

From very early on Alabama Ford Smith has had it hard. Her mother, an alcoholic and drug user and abuser mistreated her to no end. When she finally got out of that environment she went into foster care and time after time people let her down. Now at 30 years old she's still invisible to the world until Christopher "Abe" Powers sees her.
Abe is a elite navy seal who would tolerate no lies from those around him. Watching his teammate and good friend fall in love and live a happy life has Abe looking for the same thing. And while he's been going out with someone, he know she's not the right woman for him.
Destiny and a blazing fire have Abe and Alabama's lives collide and their attraction is immediate. They're polar opposites, but in this instance opposites attracts and start a sweet and beautiful relationship. That is, until someone from Abe's past decides that they shouldn't be together and will do anything to separate these two.
This is the first book I read from Ms. Stoker and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. 
The first few pages were hard for me to read, they describe the abuse Alabama went through and I have a really soft spot for children so I don't even like to read that they're abuse. That said, Susan did an incredible job describing the situation the best she could, without providing too many gory details.
I liked the connection between Abe and Alabama and how patient he was with her, even though he didn't know much of her past, he was always understanding of her fears and hesitation.
I do have to say that there was a moment in the story, towards the end, that lost me for a bit. I understood Abe's reaction but for me it was too crass and not in tune with the sweet, loving character that I had come to really like throughout the book. 
Don't get me wrong, he redeems himself, but at the time it was a bit out of character.
This is a book that would have you enthralled from beginning to end, you'll be cheering for Alabama to finally be happy and be the person she was meant to be.
Can't wait to read the next book coming out in a month!

Protecting Caroline (#1) – Amazon | Amazon UK | Paperback
Protecting Fiona (#3) – Coming Dec 29 Amazon | Amazon UK
Susan Stoker has a heart as big as the state of Texas where she lives but this all American girl has also spent the last fourteen years living in Missouri, California, Colorado, and Indiana. She is quite the romantic and even met the love of her life on "Hotmail classified" before online dating and sites like even existed!
Susan has been reading romance novels since middle school and once crossed out the names of the main characters in a book and changed them to her own and to the name of her crush. She's been writing scenes for years, developing her unique writing style.
Susan loves writing but her true passion is adopting dogs from rescue groups and shelters. Susan and her husband have had a total of nine "rescued" dogs since 2000 including a variety of basset hounds and bloodhounds. She has recently branched out and adopted a basset/terrier mix who acts more like a terrier than a basset (i.e. digging, eating a couch and being hyper).
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