Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Private Performance & Repeat Performance (Sleight of Hand Books 1 & 2) by Reese Galloway

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Private Performance B1 Cover

Private Performance by Reese Galloway Sleight of Hand #1
Publication Date: October 13, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Erotica, Romance

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Ellaine Greene has simple desires. She just wants to do her best as the event coordinator for the local aquarium, to support environmental conservation efforts, and to keep immature man-children out of her life.
So when a major donor to the aquarium demands Ellaine find a magician for her granddaughter's birthday party, all she can imagine is a long line of card chuckers and coin flippers wearing cheesy sequined vests. Instead, she gets Xander Hollatz, a sophisticated, powerful man in a crisp suit, with nimble fingers and a warm smile. He's the man for the job, no doubt. And, to her surprise, she realizes he might be the man for her, too. Will she let her doubts get in the way of their feelings for each other? And when everything goes wrong at the birthday party, will he be able to perform a miracle to save the day? Sleight of Hand #1: Private Performance is a 17,000-word novella, introducing readers to Ellaine and Xander's passionate and tender romance, to the fascinating wildlife inhabiting the aquarium, and to the mysterious world of professional magicians.

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She hovered by the door as he started unpacking. She could not take her eyes off his body, particularly his pressed trousers as he leaned over and bent to reach into his trunk.
“I’m… I’ll be in my office,” she said. “Just down the hall. Come and get me when you’re done.”
He raised his eyes from his work. “Sure. I’ll come find you when I’m ready.”
She felt hot underneath her clothes. She retreated to her office. If she’d been wearing layers she’d strip down now, but all she had on was a skirt and a thin blouse. She helped herself to a bottle of water from the mini-fridge she shared with Brissa.
She’d just begun to regain her composure when he entered the room.
“Ready when you are.”
I’m ready.
But why? Why was she so ready? More to the point, why was her body so ready for him? He’d said a few nice things to her, and looked real good. That just about summed up their relationship. So why was her skin humming for him? Was she that lonely? Ready and willing for the first good-looking guy to come along and treat her well?
Ellaine got mad at herself. She did not like that self-image.
But she did like the image where he slowly lowered himself into her. She liked that one very much.
All these thoughts crowding her head, she sat down in the front row as he took his place in front of a plush black curtain he’d set up, his signature embossed on it in silver thread. In front of him sat an elegant wooden folding table, with a rich dark polish. She wondered if he’d made it himself.
“Hello, everyone.”
His voice filled the room. A Performance Voice. It grabbed her attention without startling her, soothed her without lulling her to sleep. She even sat up a bit straighter.
Then he dropped back to his normal speaking voice and said, directly to her, “’Everyone’ meaning ‘everyone at the party, of course.’”
“Maybe I have multiple personalities,” she suggested.
“Don’t we all?” Before she could ponder that, he added, “Should I perform as though everyone’s here, for the party? Or would you prefer if I didn’t pretend? If I performed just for you?”
She knew the correct, professional choice.
But she said, “Just me.”
His eyes twinkled. He said, “Hello, Ellaine.” She gave him a small wave. He grinned. “I’m glad you could be here tonight. I have a few things to show you. The first one is this coin.” He held up a large coin — a half-dollar — between his thumb and forefinger. He showed her his other hand, empty. Then he reached up and — twisted the coin. She saw it bend, just for an instant, then in its place, between forefinger and thumb — a strawberry.
He let the berry drop into his cupped hands and held it out to her.
She leaned out of her chair. He let her take it. It wasn’t made of rubber or sponge, no. It was real.
Or felt real, anyway.
“Take a bite, if you want,” he told her, as though reading her mind. “Don’t worry, I washed my hands.”
She smiled. “Did you wash the coin too?”
He laughed. “Actually I did. They look better on stage when they’re clean.” Then he plucked the coin out of the air. It shone between his fingers.
“Is it real?”
“Very.” He tossed it to her.
It vanished in midair.
She gasped, dropping the strawberry on the floor.
“Now it’s definitely dirty,” he said, a little sadly.
“How did you…?” She shook her head, as if waking up from a dream. “Sorry about your strawberry,” she said, feeling foolish.
He chuckled. “No problem.”
“I was actually looking forward to eating it.”
“Hmm…  I’m going to… do something magicians aren’t supposed to do. I’m going to show you that trick again.”
“You are?”
“Only if you’re serious about wanting another strawberry.”
She smiled. “I am.”
He came closer. He crouched in front of her, bringing his face level with hers. He held up the coin.
She fixed her eyes on his fingers.
He reached up. Twisted the coin.
Revealed the berry.
He held it out for her again. She took it, gingerly. Nibbled the tip.
“It’s real,” she whispered. “How — how did you know I’d drop the first one? Wait, you didn’t just give me the one that fell on the floor, did you?” She looked down. No. The first one was still there.
He was laughing. “I would never give you a floor berry.”
“You wouldn’t?”
“No. Never.”
He held her gaze. Her mouth watered.
            “Let’s see some more,” she said.

Review of Private Performance
4 Stars

What a quick magical ride into the lives of Ellaine and Xander!

Ellaine is a recent divorcee and she loves her single life and her career as an Event Coordinator at the Oklahoma Aquarium.  She is damn good at her job so when a huge sponsor of the Aquarium requests a magician for her granddaughters birthday party.  She finds someone who is not only great at making a birthday cake appear out of no where but who also somehow magically makes her heart go pitter patter once again.  Even though she tries to fight the attraction, Xander will help her heal.

Xander is a hot, successful magician who doesn't need to work after quitting magic.  He is helping out his friend Brissa, which happens to also be Ellaine's assistant.  Brissa has an ulterior motive and who can blame her for wanting to help her boss and friend out.  Xander is caring, helpful and an all around great guy.  Can he show Ellaine that all magic isn't distasteful? 

I enjoyed reading about Ellaine and Xander.  I have to say this is the first book I've read of a magician and I felt like the author brought us into the story as if we were actually watching the magic show unfold, which was pretty awesome.
While the attraction is believable throughout the book, the love scene is rushed and felt like it was missing something.  It felt like a "wham bam thank you mam" sort of scenario.  I loved all the talk about the aquarium life and animals.  I will be reading book 2, Repeat Performance very soon.  I hope the love scenes take a little bit of slower pace though.

Repeat Performance B2 Cover


Ellaine Greene has a new man in her life, the famous magician Xander Hollatz. He's ripped, kind, and mysterious -- nothing like her ex-husband. He has even volunteered to perform at her aquarium's annual fundraising gala. But she's still having trouble leaving the past behind, especially when her ex shows up to beg for money. Before the new couple knows it, someone's trying to break into Xander's mansion to steal the secrets of his many famous illusions. Ellaine's ex becomes their prime suspect. But maybe it's actually the up-and-coming street magician they've befriended. Or maybe it's even someone from Xander's mysterious past. Whoever the thief is, if he uncovers and reveals the secret of Xander's newest illusion for the fundraiser, the event will be a disaster. Ellaine may lose her job. And there's a still greater question: Is this feeling they share together just lust -- or is it something more? Find out in this 74,000-word book, the second volume in the Sleight of Hand series.

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Then she went to a nearby washroom and checked herself in the mirror. Why am I worrying so much about what I look like? She was going to tell him what had happened between them had been a mistake. To cut him out of her life. Why would she need to look good for that?
Because you want him to want you.
She hardened herself against that desire. Straightened her shoulders, set her jaw. Nope. This was it. Thanks, but no thanks. That's what she was going to tell him.
She returned to her office.
He was there, sitting in the chair across from hers. Her heart felt as though it were atop a cresting wave. Her skin felt like a shimmering ocean.
Brissa, at her own desk just outside the office, looked up from her computer with a knowing smile.
"Brissa, could you..." Ellaine trailed off. Damn. Why couldn't she think of an errand to send her on?
"Would you like me to get you some coffee?" Brissa suggested.
"Yes. Um. No."
"Not from the cafe."
"No, not the cafe."
"From the coffee shop all the way down the street?"
Ellaine dropped her voice. "Maybe... even a little further away than that."
Brissa grinned. "You got it, boss." She made herself scarce.
Ellaine closed the door behind her as she entered her office. Xander looked up. She could read neither his eyes nor his body language. She endeavored to make herself as inscrutable as he was.
Then she banged her hip against the desk.
"Oh! Are you—"
"Shit. Ow."
"Are you okay?"
She rubbed her hip. "I'm fine. Ow. Fuck. That really hurts."
He got up from his chair and, before she could say anything, he placed his fingertips upon the fresh bruise.
His other hand found the small of her back.
They looked at each other.
And kissed.
It started sweetly, their lips and tongues just touching. Then their hunger for each other grew. He pushed her against the wall. She wrapped his arms around him as he pressed his body against hers. Their tongues leapt and danced. She felt his hands wending their way underneath her clothes.
It's happening all over again, just like last night. And just like last night, he'd give her pleasure again and again, until she was either too tired or too timid to return the favor.
Before he could undress her, she pushed him, backed him up against her desk. Then she knelt down and unbuckled his trousers. In an instant she had his pants down and his shirt up. She peppered his stomach with kisses and little licks. He sucked in his breath, drawing his abs even tighter than they already were.

About the Author

Reese Galloway 
 Reese Galloway loves great magic tricks, animals and bars of fancy soaps. Actually, his soap obsession is getting a little out of control.

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