Friday, February 9, 2018

"Baby Girl" by C. M. Stunich

Baby Girl
by C. M. Stunich

Baby Girl by C. M. Stunich

Baby Girl by C. M. Stunich is currently on tour with Xpresso Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well. You can also read my review.

He died that night, alone, in the rain, in the dark, the boy that called me baby girl. I was only seventeen; we were going to be together forever.
On his way to pick me up for prom, he swerved. I’ll never know what made him do it, what killed the boy I’d loved my whole life. With roses clutched in his hand, he bled out in icy wetness all alone.
His best friend is here though, and I’m pretty sure he loves me. But after the accident, I left for a year and didn’t look back.
Now I’m back in town and my heart is like shattered glass. Do I pick up the pieces and risk getting cut? And do I let another boy call me baby girl?

“Almost there in your terms or almost there in mine?” I ask and he chuckles again, the warm, low sound sliding across my skin like hot fingertips.
“Forty-five minutes thereabouts,” he says, and I breathe a sigh of relief.  “But we’ll have to venture off the road and into the water again.”  I groan but Phoenix bumps me playfully with his shoulder, scalding me with heat.  “It’s safe out dere, not like at the shop.”  His eyes darken and I can tell he thinks he made a mistake by letting me stay there.  “I’m sorry, Embry—”
I cut him off before he can keep going.
“Please don’t apologize.  The reason I stayed at the shop was to protect you.”
“You protect me?” he grumbles and then he’s licking his lips and glancing away sharply, curling his hands into fists.  “I’m such a fuckin’ idiot, getting you dragged into this shit.  I shouldn’t have let you stay there.  It occurred to me, yeah, that they might come looking for me, but not like that.  And I didn’t think they’d recognize you none or even care.  Girls don’t have to show back up as long as they keep dere mouths shut.”
He rubs a hand over his face.
“Do we have a plan for after we get to the cabin?” I ask and Phoenix gives me this … look that I don’t know how to interpret.  My breath catches and I glance away sharply.
“What kinda plan you thinkin’ about?” he asks me, and his voice is so rumbly and low that I feel this tightening in my lower belly, this primal pull that I could almost swear Phoenix is in control of.  He gives a metaphorical tug and my body responds like it’s on a string.
“Not that sort of plan,” I whisper back, touching my fingers absently to my lips.  Phoenix notices and laughs again, that warm easy chuckle that cuts through the night and swirls around me.  “I’m not having sex with you.”
“We’re both naked and wet and aroused and you don’t know think we gonna fuck?” he asks, stopping in the middle of the road and just staring at me with that heavy-lidded gaze of his.  Phoenix’s eyes are the color of starlight through clouds, a soft, muted gray that draws me in even when I don’t want it to.
“I chose him, not you, Phoenix,” I say, and then I hate myself as soon as the words leave my mouth.  My stomach clenches tight, and with the extensive bruises, it hurts.
“I know dat,” he tells me, voice husky and thick.  “But I don’t care.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“I highly recommend this story. It’s a classic friends to lovers story, but with a slight twist. I don’t think you will regret reading this one bit. Just be prepared to cry.” ~ K.C. Pipkin
“Beautifully written story of loss, grieve, love and second chances that will have you glued to your kindle and not stop reading until the end.” ~ Kol79
“C.M does an outstanding job creating this world full of Raw emotions and forgiveness that just seeps into your very being. I just absolutely love the characters! They are broken, but manage to find that glimpse of peace to move forward. So much strength and depth. I love it!” ~ reggie367m
“If you have ever wondered what true grief felt like, all you have to do is read this story it was perfectly displayed in C.M's words! I love the gritty Cajun background and how it was prevalent through the whole story, and who doesn't love hot characters and MMA! So well done C.M.!!!!” ~ Stephanie D.
“Love the characters in this book, and the emotional connection between character and reader is absolutely fabulous. Another great book by this author.” ~ A. Muller

My Review
I received this book in return for an honest review.

By Lynda Dickson
On the night of their senior prom, Embry’s fiancĂ© Codrick dies in a car crash. But he’s not the only one who dies that day. Unable to cope with her grief, Embry runs away to college, vowing to never return, while best friend Phoenix buries himself in his memories, his work, and in cleaning up his father's mess. Just over a year later, Embry comes home to visit her father in hospital. She struggles with her growing feelings for Phoenix, while he tries to keep his love for her hidden. Can you have more than one soulmate?
The story is told in alternating chapters from the points of view of Embry and Phoenix. In the prologue dealing with Codrick’s death, I didn’t feel anything, as I had never “met” him. The story could be improved by introducing the reader to Codrick while he is still alive, seeing his interactions with Embry, and getting a feel for this love that is so strong it leads two teenagers to get engaged. I struggled with the characters’ names: why the name Codrick, when he’s also referred to as Rick?; Embry’s name is way too close to “embryo” to be sexy; and Phoenix’s name just doesn’t suit him. His Cajun accent is also annoying, and he lapses out of it, especially when he is narrating. Other issues: too many descriptions of eye and hair color, using a different simile each time; numerous editing errors including punctuation, missing words, extra words, use of incorrect homonyms, mixture of past and present tenses; any excuse to get naked, it gets a bit tiresome; the crude dialogue is not sexy; overuse of the phrase “nipples pebbling”. And does Phoenix seriously start taking about Codrick when he’s having sex with Embry?
On the plus side, the story gives us a realistic depiction of the seven stages of grief: shock and denial, pain and guilt, anger and bargaining, depression/loneliness, the upward turn, reconstruction and working through, and acceptance and hope. Embry’s been counting the days since Codrick died but, now that she’s back in town, and especially when she’s with Phoenix, she’s starting to lose count; this shows that she’s moving on. She also manages to cry for the first time since Codrick’s death.
Not what I was expecting from the description.
Warnings: extremely coarse language, graphic sex scenes, violence.

About the Author
C. M. Stunich
C. M. Stunich is a self-admitted bibliophile with a love for exotic teas and a whole host of characters who live full time inside the strange, swirling vortex of her thoughts. Some folks might call this crazy, but Caitlin Morgan doesn’t mind – especially considering she has to write biographies in the third person. Oh, and half the host of characters in her head are searing hot bad boys with dirty mouths and skillful hands (among other things). If being crazy means hanging out with them every day, C. M. has decided to have herself committed.
She hates tapioca pudding, loves to binge on cheesy horror movies, and is a slave to many cats. When she’s not vacuuming fur off of her couch, C. M. can be found with her nose buried in a book or her eyes glued to a computer screen. She’s the author of over thirty novels – romance, new adult, fantasy, and young adult included. Please, come and join her inside her crazy. There’s a heck of a lot to do there.
Oh, and Caitlin loves to chat (incessantly), so feel free to email her, send her a Facebook message, or put up smoke signals. She’s already looking forward to it.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of five ebook copies of Baby Girl by C. M. Stunich.