Monday, May 12, 2014

Very Wicked Beginnings and Very Wicked Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills

Because Ilsa Madden-Mills fell in love with her beautifully flawed characters in Very Wicked Things, she penned Very Wicked Beginnings as a prequel novella to the book, featuring the story of football star Cuba Hudson and ballerina Dovey Beckham.

Since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, all May proceeds from the sale of the novella will be donated to The Keith Milano Memorial Fund which benefits the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). 


Title: Very Wicked Beginnings
Series: Briarcrest Academy #1.5, a prequel novella to Very Wicked Things
Release: May 13th
Author: Ilsa Madden-Mills
Cover: Photography by Toski Covey
Graphics: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pear Creative Covers
Model: Tanner Belcher

Girls say I’m a walking, talking sex god. Guys call me Hollywood because my life is golden.
It’s not.
But, ESPN did rank me as a four star recruit, calling me one of the best defensive players since Briarcrest Academy opened its esteemed doors. So yeah, with football and a stellar GPA, my future seemed good.
Then Dovey Beckham shows up in her short skirts and ballet shoes. Driving me insane. Making me want to beg for her attention.
But that wouldn’t happen, because Cuba Hudson didn’t beg for anything.

She walked around BA like she owned the place, and most days she looked right through me…the one girl I couldn’t have.
So, of course, I made it my mission to claim her, to put her notch on my bedpost.
Because no girl can resist the Heartbreaker of BA.
But I never planned on destroying her.
I never planned on wrecking the one thing that could save me.

Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where wicked love begins…and ends.

4-4.5 ★Golden Boy Meets Girl from The Wrong Side of Town
These two couldn't have been more different; their goals, their attitude towards life, their upbringing, and choice in holding on to the person they fall for.

Two things about me: I play football - and girls. ~Cuba Hudson 
Yup, you've read correctly; that's him. Mr Hollywood, getting what he wants and who he wants. Cuba is the star at his school; girls are drooling over and for him. All they see is Mr I-have-everything but little do they know what's behind the surface. Little do they know that he'd love to change this title and go back in time to make things right -but he can't. His life isn't as perfect as it seems but Cuba is good at keeping people at distance, letting them only see what he wants them to see. 
...until she danced herself into his life...
Two things about me: I dance and I dance. ~Dovey Beckham 
This girl got dealt a very unfortunate hand early on and she knew what it meant to be hungry, freeze, feel alone and unloved. Dovey had never much, only hope and her strength and her love for ballet. When faith once warm made her life a living hell, literally a guardian angel got sent and took care of her -best thing that could happen to her. 

She has her goals and there is no way that boy could have space in her dreams -especially no womanizer like Cuba. But his charm, his persistent made her slowly crumple until she couldn't resist any longer. 
....until tragedy struck. One moment changed both courses. One moment changed both their lives, turning it upside down.

But at Briarcrest Academy not everything is as it seems, and Very Wicked Beginnings was just the tip of the iceberg.

This was one great novella and introduction to book 2, Very Wicked Things. This novella was like an appetizer, leaving me hungry for more after I was finished. Oh Cuba, my heart ached for you and I wanted to hug and cuddle your worries and pain away. Dovey, is wanted to literally spoil you rotten because luck was never on your side and no one should experienced what you had early on *sighs.

Ladies, get your finger ready and click this goody - I love this Briarcrest Academy series and could kick my butt for waiting so long to read it.

ARC kindly provided by author

Very Wicked Things 
(Briarcrest Academy #2):

Ballerina Dovey Beckham is a scholarship student at Briarcrest Academy, determined to prove she’s more than just a girl with the wrong pedigree. She does whatever it takes to succeed in her endgame, even if it means surrendering her body but never her heart. 

Until the day she meets him, and he rips apart all her well-laid plans. Suddenly, the girl everyone thought unbreakable might just shatter.

Cuba “Hollywood” Hudson is rich, spoiled, and a star football player. With his fast cars and superficial girlfriends, he lives the high-life, hiding his secrets from the world.

Until the day he meets her, and she offers him something he’s never tasted…love.

But once in a lifetime kind of love doesn’t come easy…especially when dirty money, past sins, and old flames threaten the very fabric of their lives.
Welcome to Briarcrest Academy, where sometimes, only the wicked survive.

 Review: 4-4.5 Stars
What a sweet angsty story 
I've actually read the whole book until this morning 4am, in 1 session, including the prequel - yeah I got 3hrs of sleep. I can honestly say that besides Jennifer L. Armentrout, Ilsa's young MC I'll def continue to read. I really enjoyed them :) Make sure you read my review for the prequel, Very Wicked Beginnings first. 

Ooooh Cuba, what have you done? Why did you hurt our girl like this? It's not always the right choice pushing the people away who could actually help holding you together, keep and cherish your hope and love. 

It's easy to say -Cuba messed up. Messed up big times and shattered Dovey's heart; hurt her and humiliated her for what? To protect her...or so he thought. After guarding her heart for so long, she finally gave it to him to just have it broken by Cuba -the young man that talked about love and never wanting to let her go. 

It was a tough year for Dovey trying to ignore the one person she can't forget; the one person she knew she couldn't forget; the one person that hold all the answers but never told her why. 

Cuba shut her out one day of the other and she had no clue why. But according to his mind - his weird working mind- he knew why and he thought it was the right choice. No matter if it meant he'd suffer, too. And oh boy, did he hurt.

How are you suppose to forget or ignore the one person that made your world seem right? made your world complete? Gave you hope and strength? can't, and Cuba found it out the bittersweet way.

One unfortunate day he couldn't hold it back anymore and his well-build wall broke down. He had to have her. He had to make her his again.

But did she want him back, too? After a year of heartache? A year where he treated her like the last person on earth? ...she didn't know.
Because not only tried Cuba to snake his way back into her life, no, her best friend declared his love her, too. To top it off, her past came back smacking her right in the face in a very bitter way. 

What will Dovey do? Who will she choose and which decisions will she make to fulfill her dream of becoming a ballerina.

What a story!! I was hooked and couldn't get enough. Angst, drama, heartache, pain, hope, and love - I felt it all. Ilsa wrote a great standalone sequel telling the continuous story of Cuba and Dovey, 2 people who couldn't be any different but knew they were meant to be.
Thankfully, karma had other plans! 

I'm ready for book 3 -maybe Sebastian's story?? *grin

Excerpt for Very Wicked Things
Book #2 of the Briarcrest Academy Series
by Ilsa Madden-Mills
I got out of the shower and dressed hurriedly, anxious to get back to Cuba.
The door opened, and like he did it every single day, he stepped inside the steamy bathroom.  
“Think I need a shower, too,” he said, his fingers easing off his football practice shirt.
What? Now?
Trying to play it cool and failing miserably, I moved my eyes off his naked chest and checked out his track pants and the obvious bulge he sported.
Oh. Did his lower body match the rest of him? Was it all sinewy muscle and big?
Just, yeah. That thought got stuck in my head and went round and round.
 “You staying?” he asked, a grin working his face. Pleased at my open admiration, probably.
“No,” I said, but made no move to go. ‘Cause I had no shame when it came to catching a glimpse of his muscular body.
“Good,” he said, his smile broadening.
He pivoted to turn on the shower, and my eyes betrayed me again, admiring the muscles in his back, checking out how they twitched and rippled when he moved. Football and rowing had been good to him. My fingers itched to know how they’d feel underneath my hands. Which was stupid because we had nothing in common. Not a rich Highland Park boy and a poor girl from Ratcliffe.
And most importantly, he was a player, not to be trusted.
He hooked his thumbs into his pants, paused a moment—maybe waiting to see if I’d run from the room?—but when I didn’t budge, he slid them and his underwear off. My mouth opened. Cuba Hudson, the most popular guy at Briarcrest was standing right in front of me, naked and beautiful. And like the cocky bastard he was, he posed for me, his big-ass biceps and chiseled abs making me vibrate all over. Need for him slammed into me.
Did I say he was hot?
Well, I was wrong.
He was off-the-charts, no-holds-barred, freaking going make-me-lose-my-mind-right-there delicious. The ultimate man-candy, the kind I knew to stay away from, yet here I was, ogling him.
“Still leaving?” he asked huskily.
“Any minute,” I said in a weak voice, backing up to the wall and propping myself up. “Just chillin’. Shower wore me out. I might need to hold this wall up for a sec.”
“I want you to stay,” he said, eyes at half-mast, glowing with heat.
“Why?” I said, aching to touch him. But that was crazy. I was a virgin, and I didn’t know jack about touching a guy’s you-know-what.
“Look at me, Dovey.”
I tore my eyes from his manhood, blushing.
His eyes burned. “There’s a sense of urgency in my head. Like our time is limited.”
I nodded. Yeah, same here.
“And, I’ll be honest, I don’t want to rush you, but I’m dying to sink into you. I want to set you on fire with need for me.” He ghosted his hands over the steel rod between his legs. Once, twice, and—holy shizzle, he didn’t stop.
My chest rose faster and faster, and I tried to chill-out, but I couldn’t.
He lowered his voice. “Kiss me again, Dovey.”
Oh. “That’s a terrible idea, Cuba. Cause you’re naked, and I’m turned on because you’re naked. And you’re touching yourself. And you’re naked.” I sucked in a sharp breath. “Not a good combo. Odds are we’ll end up in that shower together or back in your bed doing the double-backed monster.”
“Then join me in the shower. I’ll be good. For you.” He arched his back, his hands still doing that back and forth that was driving me insane.
Liar, liar, pants on fire, I thought. No way he would he be good.
Because he was the Heartbreaker of Briarcrest Academy. And one wicked boy.

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