Reader’s Edyn

I always felt like I could do something more than just read. Finally, I have found both a creative outlet and a chance to do something meaningful with my reading. This blog was created in appreciation of and tribute to all of the authors who have brought me joy through their books. These reviews are my way of giving back to authors and providing recognition for the hard work that each one completes every day!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Review: Uncross Your Heart by Taryn Elliott

Title: Uncross Your Heart
           Ellora’s Cave Moderne Series
Author: Taryn Elliott
Release Date: March 23, 2012
Publisher: Ellora’s Cave
Category: Contemporary Romance
Type: Kindle

Book Blurb:

Sometimes starting over means facing your greatest fears...

Miranda Lyons is adept at pretending to be someone else, someone without a past. She's able to forget for chunks of time that she comes from a very wealthy, notorious family. She's given up most of the party-girl vices from her old life, including sex. Until Nathan Cross barges into her life...
To all appearances, Nathan Cross is a simple man--devoted to family and friends, committed to his work. But nothing is simple about Nate's feelings for Miranda. Fascination quickly blooms into outright lust, and not just for her body. He wants all of her, even the parts she hides from the world. But Miranda's secrets threaten to drive away the one man capable of both helping her come to terms with her past and supporting a future with a love that's all about truth.

Book Excerpt:

“So, what do you think of the guy on the dance floor?”
Miranda laughed. “You’re joking.” There were a few guys sprinkled in with the feast of females. The one who was trying every dance move since 1980 in the hopes of getting noticed by the college girls was even entertaining. “Do you hate me?”
Max leaned on the bar table and laughed. “Just checking. He’s so totally your husband.”
So they fell into the game that they played when Max did manage to drag her out. “Nope, definitely not him. The guy hanging over the edge at the upper bar is totally my dream date.”
Max ducked his head and laughed. “Good God, his shirt doesn’t even cover his gut.”
“I’m tellin’ ya. He’s already broken in. No expectations.” She finished her glass and found another at her elbow. Too amused to question it, she took a sip. Her eyes stalled a few times at the bar. A simple cotton button-down shirt clung to a pair of impressive shoulders, but it was the forearms she kept staring at. Muscles flexed lightly as he cupped a mug of dark beer. He was tall and lean, tanned lightly—not the leathery, raisin skin of some of the surfers, but just right.
The two men he was with were attractive in their own right. The shorter one looked like a misplaced puppy the way his head kept snapping around as if he just missed something, and the lanky one held a bored expression that spoke too much of the men she’d run with in her L.A. days. The tats that twisted around his forearms and biceps gave her a moment’s pause. Ink was, and always would be, sexy.
She and Max laughed over half a dozen men in the room, from the hang-ten set to the slick, suited-up kind trying to look cool instead of desperate. Something started to hum deep inside her as the DJ’s beat pushed at her. She’d avoided the club scene since she’d landed in San Francisco nearly four years ago.
Restless, part of her wanted to go out on the dance floor and show the wannabes how to tease and lure, how to own the men and leave them wanting. Power was as addicting as any drug sold on the market, and she’d tried it all. In Los Angeles, there was an undertone of slick danger that was missing here.
A shimmer of memory tugged at impulses she’d buried under work and a life that included people who actually cared about her. Impulses that kept dragging her eyes back to Mr. Forearms. At the moment, his battered jeans, tight across the thighs, were the highlight of her current perusal.
“And how did I not notice him?”
“Who?” Miranda averted her gaze, focusing on anything but him.
“The one you’re staring at.” Max leaned in, draping an arm around her shoulder.
“You’re imagining things. I was looking at Mr. Blue-tipped Mohawk.” She forced herself to relax and pushed her reactions down where they belonged.
“He was next to a blonde, right?”
“Right.” She sipped her wine.
“Wrong, the mohawk guy is on the other end of the bar. You’re totally looking at tall, dark and rumpled in the middle of the bar with his married friend and…brother, I think. He’s straight and,” Max’s grin widened to a full-fledged smile, “he’s totally checking you out.”
Miranda’s heart kicked.
Go, take—he’s waiting for you.
Her fingers tightened on the stem of her glass. “He’s looking at the hot little co-ed at the next table.”
“No, he’s looking at the hot redhead sitting next to me.” He moved closer. “Yup, he just shot the death ray at me. Should I kiss you so he’ll come over here and punch me out?” Max brushed his lips along her cheek.
The roll of heat gathered at the base of her spine and surged up. Not because of Max, but that there was someone watching, someone wanting her. That he was a mile of delicious was a bonus. Overwhelming and dangerous, the edges of want licked at her, reminding her how good it felt to lure a man in. Once upon a time she’d been the most desirable woman in the room. Not because she was the most beautiful, but because she was powerful. One word from her could kill an A-list position.
“I bet his shoulders get even bigger when he’s all macho—”
She lifted her shoulders to get him to stop breathing on her neck and let the ghosts of her past roll off at the same time. “Get off me, Max.”
Good-natured as ever, he didn’t pick up on her personal demon that was dying for freedom. Of course, why would he? For Max this was all in good fun. He didn’t know what she’d been.
“Go over there and ask him to dance.”
“Hell no.” Miranda gulped down the last of her wine. Too bad the hunger wasn’t as easy to get rid of. “Hour’s up, time to go.”
“Oh no.” Max closed his hand over hers. “We can go after you go ask the surfer to dance.”
“He’s not tan enough to be a surfer,” she muttered.
“Aha! You have been looking at him!”
“Max,” she whispered the warning, praying that he’d catch on. Max in focus was as lethal as his camera. “Keep your voice down.”
“I’m just going to get louder,” he said in a voice just under a shout. “God, look at those shoulders and that messy, delicious mop of dark hair. Imagine all of that on your pillow the next morning? Regrets are a lot easier to swallow when they’re pretty.”
The burn bloomed and the hum returned. Imagining him tangled in her sheets was a little too easy. “No. He’s attractive, but I’m not picturing him naked.” She wished for another hit of wine as Mr. Forearms drilled his hand into his pocket, tugging his jeans low enough that she couldn’t tear her eyes away from the hint of pale skin and trail of dark hair that disappeared into the well-worn denim leaving a notched V at his hip His shirttails raised a little as he lifted his beer to his lips.
She swallowed with him, imagining the dark brew heavy on her tongue. Just one lick of his skin. Just one hit of that foamy taste.
The whisper of want pulsed like the beat piping through the walls and the floor.
“Go on. We’re not leaving until you talk to him.”
“You seem to forget you can’t order me around, Max.” She tore her gaze away from Mr. Forearms and focused on her friend. “I’m your boss.”
“Until close of business, you’re my boss. Right now?” He shoved her forward. “Now, I’m the kick in the ass you need. Just a dance, Miranda. You don’t even have to tell him your name.”
That’s right, MJ, just a dance.
She closed her eyes against the voice sneaking out through the haze of too much wine and way too many neglected hormones. It had been so long since she’d had a man touch her. And dancing was the safest sex on the earth. She could call the shots and at worst he’d bitch to his friend that he’d danced with a tease.
“After I dance with him, we’re out of here and you don’t get to guilt me into going out for at least six months.”
The self-satisfied smirk nearly got slapped off, but then she’d hear him whine for each one of those six months.
Just one dance.
She headed toward Mr. Forearms, lifting her chin and rolling her hips as she got closer to him. He’d put his beer down. His dark brows snapped together over eyes that were a clear and perfect gray. She hooked her fingers around the wrist of the hand buried in his pocket and drew him away from the bar. “Dance with me.”
The familiar thrill of control and awareness made her fingertips tingle within his large palm. His friend made a few off-color remarks, but as soon as she got in Mr. Forearms’ space nothing else mattered. The beat swallowed her—owned her.
He didn’t speak and that was perfect. She drew him into the middle of the dance floor as the music swelled into a tribal beat showcasing a woman with a watery voice that dripped sex. The click of his jaw only heightened her buzz. His mouth was soft and full, such a contrast to the ridge of his brow and sharp angles of his cheekbones.
“Don’t you—”
She shook her head. “No names.”
His frown deepened, and again she was okay with that. He had a purpose. She turned, backing into him until the heat of his body and the music drowned out caution. She wasn’t sure if the whispery voice and extended mix was helping her or hindering her until his hands gripped her hips, easing her back against his jeans. Big. All she could focus on was how big and warm he felt.
His fingertips tightened over the silk of her skirt, digging until he caught the sway of her hips. She raised her arms, brushed his shoulders with the backs of her hands, at once overwhelmed and at ease with him so close to her. He was lean and muscled under the layers of cotton and denim. Her shoulders rested against his chest and the licks of awareness were definitely not one-sided.
The air shimmered with the moment, the beat and the perfect alignment of bodies. His hair was thick and soft against his neck, just long enough to twist her fingers into. All it would take was one tug to pull him down closer, but she resisted.
Instinct and memory heightened the moment, lengthened the tease. Delicious as the Latin undertones of the song and the light, breathy voice that promised fantasy and a world of pleasure, they moved as one.
She drew his hand up her hip and over her belly where her tunic lifted. His hand was rough and calloused, spanning her entire torso. Gentle but not hesitant, his fingertips possessed the expanse of skin. The rumble of a moan transferred through her back and chased the ball of lust up and out of its box.
His thigh slid between hers and she undulated against him as the song changed and the beat increased. Her thighs dripped with sweat and her own excitement. Blood surged until the music climbed inside the empty spaces. Her breath came faster as he drew her back until there was no space between them. He leaned down into her, his cheek pressed against her temple. The citrus scent of him wrapped around her.
The music drove them harder. The room drifted away as he moved her hair aside and his breath hit just behind her ear. Her nipples ached for a touch. Him, her, it didn’t matter.
Thick and silky, his hair sifted through her fingers as she pulled him even lower. She undulated against him, feeling his jeans tighten and the head of his cock pressed into her lower spine. When his lips brushed her neck, she reacted instantly.
She spun around, grabbing the front of his shirt tight enough that the buttons dug into her palm. Her knuckles grazed over a ribbed white tank pulled snug over a chest that was anything but soft. His stormy gaze met hers a moment before he invaded her space, lining them up for a kiss.
That’s it, take. Swallow him whole. He’ll like it.
He hovered, looking for permission. Every part of her wanted to lift up into that first meeting of mouths. The mindless pleasure she’d find in him was there for the taking. Her panties passed damp and went right into drenched the moment he’d touched her.
And that’s why she stopped.
The song cooperated with her. She peeled her fingers off his shirt, smoothing it down even as temptation urged her to flick each button open instead.
The long-ago voice was insistent and scared her enough that she could barely breathe. “Thanks for the dance,” she said with a throaty purr. No. Her lungs burned and the sensual haze dissipated. She didn’t sound like that. MJ’s sex kitten voice had no business in her life. His eyes widened as she took another step back.
He reached for her hand, but she turned away. His voice barely registered over the Lady Gaga song that turned the dance floor into a jumble of bodies. Praying her knees really weren’t made of water, she didn’t even bother to look toward Max as she left the bar. Instead she focused on sucking in cool air and quickly crossing the street toward Max’s car.

Dialogue Highlight:

Stifling a sigh, she scanned the room to entertain herself.
The businesswoman looking over her shoulder as she slid into the erotica section caused a quick grin. Then there was a spiky-haired teen at the comic book and manga aisles flipping through the spinners, an armful causing him to list to the left a little.
Her interest piqued at the span of shoulders that flashed from the shelves along the back of the store. A battered, brown messenger bag bumped his hip, thick-soled motorcycle boots peeked around the end of the aisle followed by navy pants that had the starched look of a working man. Her gaze slid up, enjoying the long line of leg and soft sweater hugging his midsection.
Something about watching someone unaware always gave her a little spurt of pleasure. The hand resting on the bag had long fingers with blunt ends. Man hands. She pushed up her glasses as her belly fluttered. She was in bad shape if staring at some stranger was getting her all hot and bothered. She hadn’t even seen his—
Gray eyes met hers and her mouth dropped open. She quickly swung her gaze back to Jayne as she wrapped up her lecture. The questions buzzed with the baker’s dozen of females in the room. Each had a story, of course.
She would not look back there again. She laughed with the rest of the women, trying to pay attention to their chatter.
What was he doing there?
She slowly let her gaze fall to the back again, but he was gone.
She shook her head and turned back to her group. She was seeing things. She was just putting a face to the stranger, that’s all. It wasn’t her dance partner-delivery guy. She was still mortified by that, thank you very much.
“If you don’t recognize me this time, Ms. Woods, I’m taking you to the optometrist.”
Miranda stiffened at the voice behind her. She twisted around in her chair, looking down at the café from her slightly elevated perch on the book floor. His long, rugged frame was sprawled out on the too-small chair. A large hand swallowed his mug as his lazy, hooded gaze traveled over her body. His face had gone to scruffy, accentuating his long neck and an Adam’s apple that made her mouth go dry. The V-neck of his sweater showed a smooth notch of skin that teased at her memories of their dance.
Saying nothing, she turned back around and ignored him. If she pretended he wasn’t there, he’d eventually give up. Stuffing her foot back into her shoe, she gathered her untouched notebook and pens, tucking them into her purse.
She smiled at Jayne, “Hey, great topic tonight.”
“Right.” Jayne crossed her arms over her chest. “I don’t think you heard a word I said tonight, darlin’.”
She sighed. “I’m sorry, I’ve been a little distracted.”
Jayne peeked over her shoulder and waggled her fingers at the delivery guy. “I’d be distracted if he was trying to get my attention too.”
Rolling her eyes, she glanced back and saw him in the same spot, with the same sleepy look in his eyes. “He’s not trying to get my—”
“Yes he is,” Delivery Guy called out.
She pressed her lips together. “I’ll see you next week?”
Jayne smirked. “Sure, Miranda.” She reached for her briefcase. “But if you’re smart, you’ll have plans next Friday instead of trying to sit through Debbie’s lesson about beefing up your online profile to get more hits on Facebook and other lessons on social networking.”
“You’re kidding.” Miranda’s hands went limp on the table.
“I wish I was.” Jayne waved and winked at her delivery guy. “See ya.”
Sighing, Miranda turned around again and leaned on the railing that sectioned off the two parts of the bookstore. “Are you stalking me, Dance Guy?”
He stood up. “Nate.” He looped his bag over his head and stuffed it behind his back. “I’m your FedEx guy too, Ms. Woods.” He grinned. “But you knew that.”
“I did,” she said simply. No use hiding it now. She didn’t lie very well anymore. She was sorely out of practice. “Tell me, Nate,” she emphasized his name, “just why are you here?”
His chin was lifted to meet her gaze, which only showed off his ridiculously chiseled jawline. Who the hell looked that good all over for God’s sake? “Funny thing happened at Casey’s today.”
She blinked. “Casey’s?”
“Yeah, you know the little place on—”
“Everyone knows Casey’s, Nate,” she huffed.
“Well, Miranda,” he used the same emphasis, “did you know your coworker, Max, was going to be there for dinner?”
Miranda’s heart sank. Yeah, she knew that. Max and Will called Friday night their carb night and went to get their fill from Casey’s or Fertelli’s. “Did Max put you up to this?”
Nate held up a finger and rounded the tables within the café area, took the two steps that led to the reading area as one and met her at the table. A few of the girls who lingered simply stared, giggled or blatantly purred in his general direction. Miranda groaned. Man, she was never going to live this down.
He towered over her, his well-worn boots giving him yet another inch on her as his shoulders seemed to block her in against the railing. She fought the urge to escape, or at the very least push him out of the way. He was big in a way that made her uncomfortable and aware all at the same time. She didn’t want to be aware, dammit. “Look, Nate, if Max gave you some sort of indication that I was interested in anything other than that dance we shared, then he’s mistaken.”
He leaned into her space. “Today was the second time you nearly snacked on me with your eyes from across a room.” He paused a beat, angling his chin up, challenge in his eyes. “If I’m not wearing my uniform, of course.”
Miranda fought a wince. She couldn’t deny that one. His eyes were a stony gray under the black slash of dark brows and they weren’t happy. “Look, it wasn’t on purpose.” She lifted her shoulders in a shrug.
One of his brows arched. “So you’re rude by nature?”
“Not on purpose!” She crossed her arms over her chest and huffed. “I don’t know, I’m just getting the package and moving on. It’s nothing personal, you’re just—”
He tipped his head to the side. “The delivery guy?”
She could feel her cheeks flaming. “It’s not personal,” she said stubbornly.
“I’m not sure if I should be offended or relieved.”
“Go with the good one,” she said, bending her lips in what could pass for a smile. Man, she didn’t want to keep him interested in her, but she couldn’t be rude to his face now that he was a flesh-and-blood person.
He tucked his thumb into his belt. “Miranda, do you know how long I’ve been delivering to your place?”
Her stomach did a slow turn at the way he said her name. His voice was a throwback to the DJ era. It had this extra purr to it that made her think of tangled sheets and lots of red wine. God, that wasn’t good.
Fuck the red wine, go with tequila.
That long-ago voice in her head chilled her right down to the marrow. She cleared her throat. “I’m going to say awhile.”
“Three years, give or take a few months.”
“Hell,” she muttered.
“Know how many times I talked to your dog and called her by name?”
She winced, full on this time. “All right, all right, I know I’m a shit, Nate.” She picked up her purse and slung it over her shoulder. “Happy now? Yes, nasty Miranda ignores the blue-collar boy but secretly finds him really hot from across the room when he’s in a sweater or button-down plaid shirt. Let me go open my laptop and write the romance novel when I get home.”
His eyes deepened, drawing her in. “Skip the romance novel and meet me at The Gryphon at eleven o’clock.”


Well, let’s just say that I now know why Cari Quinn and Taryn Elliott are critique partners. I don’t think it is possible to like one without liking the other. *nods* Luckily for me, my review of Ms. Quinn’s book, turned into an opportunity to review Ms. Elliott’s book. I can honestly say to the readers out there that if you find one of these authors enjoyable and have yet to read the other, you are pretty much guaranteed an enjoyable read. That said, let’s get on with the review.

Miranda is basically Paris Hilton … or she was. She lived dangerously and partied harder all for the attention she was missing out on from her less than ideal family life. But eventually she gets a wake up call and goes to ground as another person altogether. Having lived the crazy life, she turns her back on everything related to fun that could potentially tempt her wild side and dives deep into her work, creating a web design business on the verge of success. The only problem with ignoring life around you is that you do eventually miss out and Miranda has failed to notice her hawt FedEx delivery guy for the last three years. Oh yeah ~ I said THREE years!

Nate has been lusting after Miranda forEVAH and goes so far as to rearrange his delivery schedule so that he ends his day with her. So when she unexpectedly shows up at a club he is at and dances with him, he damn near looses his mind ~ so much so that she walks away from him without him being able to form a coherent sentence. And when her friends tip him off to her whereabouts a few days later, he pounces on the chance to see her again. But Miranda’s past has caused her to erect shields of protection in places even she doesn’t realize exist and it is up to Nathan to show her that having a life doesn’t mean that she will revert back to her darker days. Their attraction is instantaneous and Nathan’s ability to get to Miranda scares the crap out of her. As her craving for him grows, she does the only thing she knows how to do … retreat into herself and close off from Nate. But at some point being shut down and shut out can only be taken so many times and Nathan may be at the end of his limit after realizing that everything he thought they shared together may well have been based entirely on lies.

I think that the best way to describe this story is to say that it is the most uncomplicated, complex story I have ever read. Now that makes sense to me, but I am not sure that it will to all of you. Basically what I mean is that the story is easily understandable and the plot is relatively simple, but the characters are complex. Miranda more so than Nathan. The story could easily have been cut into a quick novella, but instead, Ms. Elliott thought out the characters and executed a terrific story. What I enjoyed the most is that Miranda and Nate switch roles from the traditional girl goes swoon over guy and guy struggles with forever. Nate knows what he wants and has to convince Miranda that they have hope for a future. Not to mention the HEA wasn’t spoon-fed. I always enjoy the characters having to work for their happiness a bit before attaining it.

I thought I saw that this story was the first in a series of four. But I haven’t been able to locate the site where it said such. I can only hope that it is true because the secondary characters can sure use stories of their own. Leo for one I am crazy curious about; especially after his little bomb drop about everyone having secrets. I know that Nathan’s brother, Noah, definitely needs his own story. And Macy seems to have a lot to say which could easily morph into her own story. It will be interesting to see if I am right. Until then, I highly recommend this story. The character interaction is fresh and witty, not just with the main characters, but with the secondary characters who enhance the story tremendously. And the electricity between Nate and Miranda practically crackles off of the pages. For an enjoyable read that you will not regret passing time with and characters that quickly draw you in, tossed liberally with exciting intimacy, UNCROSS YOUR HEART is a must read.  

(EBook copy provided by author for review.)


  1. Really does sound good. Always looking for something new ;)

    1. *waves* Hi Shirley! It really was an enjoyble story. I think you will like it also. I diffinitely reccommend that you check it out! :) Thanks for taking the time to read the review. ~K


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