Monday, September 22, 2014

Blog Tour: Rouse Me by Crystal Kaswell

Alyssa Summers is not the kind of girl who cheats. Sure, she isn't in love with her fiancé, Ryan Knight, but she has no use for silly ideas like love or passion. She needs someone who can keep her from destroying herself. She needs Ryan. She's sure of it.
Then she meets Luke Lawrence.
He's handsome. And he's bold—he thinks nothing of flirting with her in front of Ryan. And he's smart, and articulate, and interested in what she has to say.
But she should be able to stop thinking about him.
So what if his big, brown eyes light up when he smiles? So what if his laugh completely disarms her? So what if his touch-- even his fingertips grazing her back-- makes her body hum?
She shouldn't feel so tempted. She shouldn't feel so desperate to know him. Luke is Ryan's business partner, for God's sake. She should be able to resist him.
But she can't. She wants Luke more than she's ever wanted anything.

I wake up drenched in sweat, my heart pounding in my chest. Did I dream up last night or did Ryan really ask me to marry him?
Did I dream that I said yes and that Ryan whisked me back home? That he was some mix of affectionate and aggressive when he laid me on our bed and stripped me naked, and kissed me—serious kisses, not the usual pecks—until I asked for more? Did I dream about the close thrusts in missionary, my attention fading in and out, my gaze drifting to the ring?
And there it is, on my left hand. It's a big, showy thing, meant to broadcast my “engaged” status to anyone who even glances at me. Meant to broadcast Ryan's status to anyone who sees us together.
There's no way I dreamed up this ring.
I am engaged to Ryan.
I should be excited.
I am excited. Of course I'm excited. Ryan has done a lot for me. He deserves to be my husband.
Still, I try to avoid the ring's reflection as I brush my teeth. It's impossible. The enormous rock catches the light at every angle. It must have cost a fortune. Ryan is doing well, really well, but he didn't need to drop so much money on a piece of jewelry. It's not as if I'll be able to wear it often if I go back to acting. And I don't want to get into fights about why I'm not wearing his expensive ring.
In the kitchen, Ryan fixes our usual breakfasts—an egg white omelet for him, oatmeal and fruit for me. He kisses me, a soft peck on the lips.
“Good morning, Mrs. Knight,” he says with a smile. There's another fight I don't want to have—whether or not I'll take his name.
I fix our coffees—black for him, agave and almond milk in mine. I know, I'm one of those Los Angeles people, but there is no room for sugar or half and half on my recovery diet.
We eat quietly for a few minutes. I read on my Kindle. Ryan works on his laptop. It's our normal routine, but today Ryan is especially annoyed.
“What is this?” he asks, turning the laptop to me. And there it is—his name on Google, and half a dozen celebrity gossip websites running with the story of our engagement. And here I thought everyone forgot about me.
“You proposed at a popular restaurant. What did you think would happen?” I ask.
“It's supposed to be private,” he says. As if I had something to do with our names appearing on celebrity gossip sites. As if he didn't know, going in, that I am enough of a C-list actress to be interesting to people interested only in fame. As if our engagement is somehow less special because people know about it.
“If you wanted it to be private, why didn't you do it here?” I ask.
“I'm not going to ask you to be my wife over take out in the condo.” He sinks into his bad mood, poring over the gossip sites, the expression in his hazel eyes growing more and more irritated.
“I guess I under-estimated how much everyone wants to talk about you,” he adds.
“They'll have forgotten by this weekend.”
“My parents are going to find out we're engaged from some gossip site.”
“Your parents don't follow gossip.”
“Someone is going to call them,” he says.
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“There's nothing you can do.” He slips his suit jacket over his shoulders and packs his briefcase. “In a few years, no one will remember who you are, and we'll never have to deal with this kind of thing.”
Is that supposed to be comforting?
He kisses me on the cheek on his way out the door. I turn over his words.
In a few years, no one will remember who you are.
In a few years, Alyssa Summers, you will not be anything but my wife.


Rouse Me by Crystal Kaswell is a the story of Alyssa and her struggle to overcome an eating disorder and re-enter the world of acting, with her fiance Ryan by her side. The way in which Alyssa fights to get her life back to realize what she really needs to live and be happy is a little unconventional and many readers may find issue with it; especially because it centers around an affair.  Although many may not condone the manner in which she discovers herself after leaving rehab for her bulimia, the heart of the story is not the cheating; its actually Alyssa dealing with her feelings toward her life.  I rate this book 3.5 stars and recommend it to others.

Alyssa has known Ryan since high-school when she was an awkward girl who held all of her feelings inside and hardly had any friends.  It was Ryan that she always turned to when she needed a shoulder to cry on and he was always their to pick up the pieces.  It is Ryan who forced Alyssa to seek treatment for her bulimia and it was Ryan who moved her into his condo to help with her post rehab recovery.  It is Ryan who ensures that she stays on her recovery diet, Ryan who calls every night at 7pm to check that she has eaten her dinner while he is at work, and it is Ryan who proposes to her.  But is it Ryan that she loves or is he just safe, the one who takes care of her?

Alyssa struggles with her feelings toward Ryan, does she really love him like she should since she accepted his marriage proposal?  Or he is just the safe choice, the one who will keep her on track to not return to a life of eating and purging.  She believes that Ryan is the right person for her to spend her life with, until she meets his business partner Luke Lawrence.  Luke is handsome, sexy and funny; making Alyssa feel at ease from the first time they meet and exciting her at the same time.  Something she has never felt with Ryan; who lately seems to only care about his career, how she looks on his arm, and whether or not she has eaten.    It's almost as Ryan pushes her into Luke's arms.  Luke makes Alyssa feel things that she has never had with Ryan.

Alyssa starts to have an affair with Luke, and being with him makes her feel alive for the first time in a long time and he wants to be with her more than anything.  He tells her this; despite her past, despite how they started their relationship he is in love with her.  But Alyssa is afraid; afraid that Luke will get sick of her issues, her stress, the struggle that she has everyday.  She knows that she doesn't truly love Ryan like she should, but he is safe for her, he has always picked up her and put her back together and she doesn't know that Luke can do that for her.  

Everything comes to a head when Alyssa finally realizes that only she can determine what was right for her.  Only Alyssa can decide how she should live her life, that Ryan can't do it for her and that is when she finally does what her heart has been telling her all along.  

Rouse Me was a tale of finding ones self-worth while fighting an eating disorder.  I would give it a 3.5 stars.  I am not a big fan of one particular subject this book had and because of that I had to rate lower. Although I had that issue there was some serious steam to it with the sexy scenes and it was written really well.  This is the first book I have read by this author but I will continue to follow her journey in the next book Stir Me which is set to release in early 2015.  I would recommend this book to others but with a warning.  

Alyssa has had it rough in life, she doesn't have any family she only has her fiance Ryan.  She struggles with an eating disorder and Ryan has always been there to pick up her pieces when she has destroyed herself.  She is an actress and has fallen off the grid because she was in rehab for her disorder.  Ryan is her rock, they don't have your typical loving relationship but what they have works for her...but what happens when she realizes she wants more from him that she needs more.. she will question there relationship and it will send her into another frenzy.  

He will never love me the way boys on TV love girls on TV.  But that is how it should be--- the love on TV is fake. It's manufactured by camera movements and scores and screen kisses.  I've been the pretty, empty love interest enough times to know it's all a crock of bullshit.-- ALYSSA

On top of that her Agent offers her a role of a lifetime... but is she ready.. will Ryan hold her back?  Or will Ryan's partner at his law firm Luke catch Alyssa's attention?  Can she avoid temptation while trying to hold on to what she has with Ryan... or will everything come crumbling down including her career once again?

The scorching shower water does little to ease my mental state.  I should have used cool water, freezing cold water, anything that would dampen the heat in my body.  How can I want Luke so much?  I don't know anything about him.  I've dated plenty of handsome charming guys before, and none of them ever made me feel like this.-- ALYSSA

Alyssa will make choices in her life that at the time aren't the best choice but when her heart finally catches up with her brain it just may be to late for her.

The cover wowed me. The title intrigued me. The story engaged me. Crystal Kaswell put her all into Rouse Me. It took me on a journey filled with heat, heart, sadness and self discovery.

Alyssa the heroine is a former C list actress that is seeking her identity, fighting her insecurities and finding her way. She must look far and deep and uncover her truths in order to move on and seek what brings her optimal health, sexual satisfaction and independence. It's not easy and it's the journey that made this story worth reading. Alyssa gets caught up in fulfilling her undeniable desires even if they may be with someone other than her fiance’.

"It's not a kiss that says I love you or even I want you. It doesn't even say you are mine ."-Alyssa

Her fiance’ is Ryan, a dedicated lawyer. He is a control freak that nurtures Alyssa the only way he knows how. By showing her off and meeting some of her basic needs. However, Alyssa has other needs that need tending to. He’s just not fitting the bill.

"I would rather you be miserable and alive."

This is where Luke comes in. He's got demons and motives. He sets out to pursue Alyssa and deter her from her relationship with Ryan. Luke is sexy and open and it is charming. I feel Luke assumed too muchinitially and didn't know her enough to love her as quick as he did. I liked him and felt he was a better fit for her. Sometimes two wrongs make a right!

""Be with me. Stay with me. Love me."

"I wouldn't want to get in the way of true love, real love, the kind of romantic, passionate love that leaves you breathless and keeps you together for 80 years."

Who is the best for her?  What does she need vs what does she want? At times her indecision was frustrating but at the same time worked for the plot.

If you can handle deceit, cheating and steam…. Grab this. I like reading things that are messy and complicated. The characters were flawed and believable in this erotic romance. I did find her eating disorder to be redundant at times but I understand it was crucial to the character. I felt bad for Alyssa and her disorder. Most women can identify with Alyssa and also suffer in some form poor body issues. I know I would love to rid my self of the extra pounds. Lol…

Life is a journey filled with ups and downs. I give this book 3 and 1/2 stars- Get aroused with Rouse Me !

Crystal Kaswell is the author of Rouse Me, coming August 2014. She is a voracious reader, typically consuming books in only two or three days. When not reading or writing, she is typically playing board games, drinking tea, or riding her beach cruiser around Los Angeles.


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