Saturday, April 18, 2015

Blog Tour & Review: Black Number Four by Kandi Steiner


Title: Black Number Four
Author: Kandi Steiner
Release Date: April 4, 2015
Find on Goodreads

 


Known as one of the youngest and most ambitious poker players in the country, Skyler Thorne has a reputation to uphold in Vegas this year. Her sole focus for spring semester is to perfect her game and get tournament ready – and have some fun with her sorority sisters, of course. Meeting a care-free pledge with incredible arms adds a whole new element of fun to her semester, but when a shocking discovery about his past surfaces, Skyler finds herself stuck in a game she wasn’t prepared to play.

Kip Jackson is on a mission from his father. His plan was to get in, have a little fun, and then get out – on to bigger and better things. A feisty girl with bright blue eyes wasn’t on his list of things to do, but she quickly moves her way up to the very top. When he realizes completing his dad’s mission means crushing her in the process, he must decide if his dreams are worth the risk – or if he even has the same dreams, at all.

Two secrets. Two hearts. Two hands being played in one twisted game of deceit.

When the cards are on the table, will anyone be left standing?

The perfect poker face can only hide them for so long.



 


We get to my apartment around noon and I throw together a couple of turkey sandwiches for us. By the time we finish eating, we’re both exhausted – both from paddleboarding and from not sleeping last night.
“Why don’t we take a shower and watch a movie?” I suggest as Skyler yawns.
“I don’t have any clothes here besides the ones I have on now and they’re all sandy.”
“You can borrow a pair of boxers and a shirt of mine.”
Skyler chews her lip, unsure. “I don’t know, I’m pretty tired.”
“So am I,” I say, standing and pulling her up with me. “So maybe we watch a movie and maybe we take a nap. Don’t leave yet. I barely see you during the week and I know there’s not many weekends where you don’t have sorority stuff going on.”
“I actually have a sisterhood event tonight.”
“See?” I pull her wrist and lead her toward my bedroom, which really is just my bed separated by hanging curtains on a rack. I rummage through my clothes until I find a clean shirt and pair of boxers, tossing them to her and pointing to the bathroom. “Towels are above the toilet in the cabinet, shampoo and shit’s in there.”
She still seems unsure, so I pull her into me and move the fallen strands of hair from her face. “Come on. Just for a few hours. You’ll feel better once you shower and I know you’re tired. You’re not going to get any sleep if you go home to your sorority house.”
At that she sighs and nods. “You’re probably right about that.”
I smile and nudge her toward the bathroom again.
“Fine,” she says. “But just for a little while. And no trying to ambush me in the shower, either.”
I hold up my hands in surrender. “I promise. You can shower in peace.”
“Mmm hmm,” she says, suspicious, but she walks to the bathroom and closes the door behind her.
I smile and start straightening my bed, turning on the TV to find something for us to watch. I’m flipping through the channels when I hear the shower turn on and the smile leaves my face. Suddenly, I’m completely aware of Skyler’s naked body in the other room.
Shaking my head, I focus on finding something to watch, willing my own body to behave. After a few minutes, I realize I’ve flipped through the channels three times now without stopping or even recognizing what I was seeing on the screen. I bite my lip hard, cross my arms, and pace.
Don’t do it. Don’t make this more complicated than it is. She trusts you, she’s opening up to you – that’s what you need from her. Poker. Poker. Poker.
That’s all.
I pace more. Back and forth. Back and forth. Before I know what I’m doing, my knuckles are knocking softly on the bathroom door. I have no idea what I’m going to say or what the fuck I’m doing, but I can’t stop my hands. The door opens slightly on the third knock, as if it wasn’t completely closed, and through the slit, I see Skyler.
She’s standing there shocked, her mouth open slightly as the water continues to drip down her body, running in rivers down over her breasts and meeting between her thighs. I swallow hard, unsure of my decision. I have nothing to ask, no reason to be staring at her through this door – but Skyler doesn’t cover herself, she doesn’t scream, she doesn’t tell me to get out.
I open the door a little further, still wondering what the hell I’m doing. I consider asking if she needs anything else, if she found a towel, something – but we both know I didn’t come in here to give her a towel.
“I suck at keeping promises,” I admit, just above a whisper, and I wish I could tell her I’m not just talking about the promise to not interrupt her shower.
“And I suck at pretending like I don’t want you.”


Latch
Hannah Trigwell & Nick Howard
Chapter 1: Ante Up
Scene: “Latching onto the transfer already?”
Hell Yeah
Midnight Red
Chapter 1: Ante Up
Scene:  “What do you say we make this party a little more interesting?”
Blank Space
Tyler Ward
Chapter 2: Lady Luck
Scene: “Passion can be a dangerous thing.”
Take U There
Jack U ft. Kiesza
Chapter 3: Ace
Scene: Ralph’s is packed when we arrive, which isn’t out of the ordinary for a Friday night.
Slow to Learn
Manchester Orchestra
Chapter 4: Deuces
Scene: I’ve been too damn distracted by how sexy she is when she’s schooling these tools.
Sledgehammer
Fifth Harmony
Chapter 5: Hot Table
Scene: There’s also the fact that I like being around him. I like it way more than I care to admit and that’s not good.
Heartbreaker
Jayme Dee
Chapter 5: Hot Table
Scene: He smiles and licks his lips, his eyes smoldering, which causes practically the entire chapter room to swoon.
Blame
Calvin Harris
Chapter 6: Nicely Played
Scene: But then I remember that I will hurt her, whether I want to or not. It will happen. It’s inevitable.
Shower
Becky G
Chapter 7: Two Can Play That Game
Scene: “How is it that you infuriate me yet turn me on at the same time?”
What Makes You Beautiful
Boyce Avenue
Chapter 8: Power Moves
Scene: “Hold me so I won’t float away?”
Try
Colbie Caillat
Chapter 9: Poker Face
Scene: “We’re just trying to help,” Ashlei says.
Life of the Party
Shawn Mendes
Chapter 10: Weakness
Scene: “I don’t care about what people think, Skyler. I know you do, but I don’t.
Break Free
Ariana Grande
Chapter 11: Angle Shooter
Scene: There isn’t another option in this game, no matter how badly I wish there was.
Lay Me Down (acoustic)
Sam Smith
Chapter 12: Blank
Scene: How was I supposed to know the kind of drug I was getting into?
Bumper Cars
Alex & Sierra
Chapter 13: Bluffing
Scene: I hate this. I hate this so, so much.
Here We Go Again
Mat Kearney
Chapter 14: Tilt
Scene: “You’re coming home with me tonight.”
Hideaway
Kiesza
Chapter 15: No Limit
Scene: I have no idea what I’m doing.
Same Sea
Lights
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “I never thought studying could be so sexy,”
#GetItRight
Miley Cyrus
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “You’re killing me, Sky,”
She Looks So Perfect
5 Seconds of Summer
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “IT’S SPRING BREAK, BITCHES!”
Give Me Something
Alex & Siera
Chapter 16: Black Number Four
Scene: “Yeah, good luck with that game.
Surrender
Cash Cash
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: And the rest of the world can just deal with it.
Strip
Jessie J
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: “And what would make it perfect-perfect
Blame It On Me
Mapei
Chapter 17: Bad Beat
Scene: I can’t lose him.
Tenerife Sea
Ed Sheeran
Chapter 18: Rush
Scene: When we’re alone, that same electricity buzzes to life. The air feels tight, hot, charged.
All About You
Hilary Duff
Chapter 19: Game Changer
Scene: It’s crazy that a simple text can make my stomach flip like this, but it’s exactly what I needed.
Breathe Again
Sarah Bareilles
Chapter 19: Game Changer
Scene: I want him to fix it. To fix me.
It’s Not Over
Secondhand Serenade
Chapter 20: Downswing
Scene: “You don’t want to kiss me.” “Yes I do.”
Growing Up
Alex G
Chapter 21: Tell
Scene: As if I’m a glutton for punishment, I pull his oversized black t-shirt from my bag and slip it over my head, taking everything else off.
Pretending
Glee Cast
Chapter 22: Freezeout
Scene: For a moment she just stares at me, and I just stare at her. We don’t wave or nod or even really acknowledge that we’re both looking. We just look.
The Sun is Rising
Britt Nicole
Chapter 23: Game Over
Scene: And somewhere in those ocean blue eyes of his, I find what I’ve been searching for.
Stay With Me
Janxx
Chapter 23: Game Over
Scene: Love doesn’t care about the games we play.
Real Love
Clean Bandit & Jess Glynne
Chapter 24: Break Even
Scene: “I’m done leaving my life to chance. Black number four can suck it.”
Don’t Go Home Without Me
Lights
Epilogue: Heart
Scene: “I could get used to kisses like this.”

 



Black Number Four by Kandi Steiner is a book unlike anything that I have read before.  In this exciting new book by Kandi Steiner, the reader is thrown into a world with two faces, the one that Skyler Thorne shows the college world in which she lives, and the one that she only shows to Kip Jackson, her true self.  This book is filled with everything a reader could look for in a story, love, betrayal, triumph and sacrifice. Black Number Four was a 3.5 poker chip read for me and I would recommend it to others.

Skyler Thorne was one of the youngest professional poker players in the nation, along with being a college student and the next in line for the illustrious president position in her sorority.  Skyler is focusing her spring semester on one thing, honing in her poker game so that she can win the title at the big tournament in Las Vegas.  Always showing the world her poker face, never letting anyone close enough to see the truth and never getting serious about a guy are all of the rules that Skyler seems to live her life by.  That is until she meets the new nerdy hot pledge Kip Jackson.  Not understanding the pull that she has toward him and knowing that getting involved with anyone will only hurt her poker game; Skyler decides to stay away from Kip, that is until her Big gives her a mission that she can't say no to.

Kip Johnson transferred to the little hole in the wall Florida college for one reason, to find the mark that his father says will be his ultimate competition at the poker tournament in Las Vegas, study her and learn her tells and defeat her at the final table.  Only then can Kip's dreams of school in LA can come true.  Kip never expected to fall in love while he was fulling his father's wish.  And he never expected to fall in love with the one person that he should have put on his poker face for and never showed his hand to.

This story is filled with betrayals that will rock both Skyler and Kip to the core, making them question everything that they have set out to do, most importantly get to the final table in Las Vegas.  Will Kip rattle the poker facade that Skyler has erected around herself?  Will Skyler finally be able to show her friends and sorority sisters her true self and win the final hand that will make everything that plagues her life at the moment a distant memory?  You will have to read to find out!





I absolutely adored this book! From beginning to end, it kept me completely entertained. It was definitely a new spin on an old cat and mouse game. Who is playing who? Who will come out on top?

Kip and Skyler both had secrets... Who is going to end up breaking who? I just loved the back and forth!
Kip and Sky were just such likable characters. I completely fell in love with Kip from the first date scene. He is such an adorable smart ass. The humor really kept me going. I couldn't get enough of the banter between Kip and Skyler. 

The drama was also just enough to keep you on the edge of your seat while reading. These two characters knew how to break each other, and pick each other back up again. This was my first book by Kandi Steiner, but it won't be my last!


Kandi Steiner is a Creative Writing and Advertising/Public Relations graduate from the University of Central Florida living in Tampa with her husband. Kandi works full time as a social media specialist, but also works part time as a Zumba fitness instructor and blackjack dealer.

Kandi started writing back in the 4th grade after reading the first Harry Potter installment. In 6th grade, she wrote and edited her own newspaper and distributed to her classmates. Eventually, the principal caught on and the newspaper was quickly halted, though Kandi tried fighting for her “freedom of press.” She took particular interest in writing romance after college, as she has always been a die hard hopeless romantic (like most girls brought up on Disney movies).

When Kandi isn’t working or writing, you can find her reading books of all kinds, talking with her extremely vocal cat, and spending time with her friends and family. She enjoys beach days, movie marathons, live music, craft beer and sweet wine – not necessarily in that order.




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