Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

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Hi guys, we have Elizabeth Varlet stopping by today with her newest release Dark & Dazzling, the second book in the Sassy Boyz series, we have a great post from Elizabeth with her Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate, we have a great excerpt, a fantastic giveaway and Aerin’s review, so check out the post and leave a comment to enter the giveaway!

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Dark & Dazzling

(Sassy Boyz 02)
by

Elizabeth Varlet

Z doesn’t need a hero

Azariah “Z” Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he’s more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.

Connelly is a white knight with a badge

For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He’s been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it’s not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z’s problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there’s one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it’s this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

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Elizabeth Varlet

What to do to when you just don’t want to do anything: otherwise known as My Top Ten Ways to Procrastinate.

  1. Netflix. Argh! Who invented this tempting website of productivity doom? I’m a binge watcher. Once I start a show I need to see every available episode and nothing will get in my way. Such a darn struggle.
  2. Pinterest. Another website that is basically a tornado of awesome distractions. I can’t work because I’m stuck in this vortex of DIY crafts I will never do or recipes that I will never cook. *headdesk*
  3. Instagram. This is my newest obsession. I just opened my account a few months ago and I love, love, love it. I’ve coined myself an amateur photographer (which my professional photographer husband thinks is hilarious) and go around snapping random “creative” shots.
  4. Planning. Yep, I’m a planner addict. I have an Erin Condren Life Planner, a Bullet Journal, a habit tracker, a writing journal and a one sentence journal. Each and every one is decorated and made as creative as possible. What a beautiful way to waste valuable time.
  5. Facebook. Every procrastination list seems to list Facebook so I feel totally lame adding it to mine, but I can’t get around the fact that I seem to spend a good hour checking my various Facebook accounts each day.
  6. YouTube. Because…SuperFruit, Todrick Hall, Yanis Marshall, UNHhhh, 1MillionDanceStudio, WeLoveKatya, Willam Belli, Tyler Oakley, Courtney Act, Alaska Thunderf*ck, PTXOfficial, & Mark E. Miller.
  7. Reading. This should be closer to the top actually. Reading is probably my go-to distraction/procrastination excuse. So many great authors. So many amazing worlds to explore and characters to love.
  8. Sims 4. Yep, I’m a gamer. LOL! Okay, not really. I only play one game. I’ve played the Sims since the original was released. I even have a secret Sims Tumblr account where I write about my Sims. Admitting that was embarrassing, please don’t hold it against me.
  9. Petfinder. This is where things start to get really desperate. I have a deep, deep longing to adopt a dog but our current circumstances don’t make it possible. Still, I know I will adopt eventually so, when I’m really scraping the bottle of the distraction barrel, I will search petfinder.com for available puppies. They are soooo fricken cute.
  10. Online Shopping. So I don’t always make it to checkout, but I love looking at my favorite stores and filling my basket. It’s therapy without killing my bank account. Of course, sometimes my will power isn’t strong enough to resist and I end up buy things I can’t afford…whoops.

So, there you have it. That’s what I’m probably doing whenever I’m not writing. What about you? How do you distraction yourself when you really should be working?

Let me know in the comments below.

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Excerpt

His phone rang. Connelly didn’t bother glancing at the screen to check who was calling. It could only be one person.

“Hi, Janie,” he said. “What’s the problem now?”

“I don’t know. I think there’s something wrong with the water heater. We can’t get any hot water in the shower.” Even though his sister’s tone was apologetic, it was also tinged with frustration. She’d break down soon if he didn’t help her out. Janie wasn’t good with stress. Or adult responsibility beyond the day-to-day care of her two boys.

He stopped midstride, pinched the bridge of his nose and closed his eyes. The last thing he needed was to spend the rest of his afternoon fixing her problems—plural—because he knew there’d be more once he got out there.

It had already been a tough day. He and Raoul had finally closed the robbery case they’d been working for weeks, but it had come at a cost. The thug they’d been chasing had stabbed a tourist in the stomach. The guy was in the ICU getting prepped for surgery now. Plus, they’d been assigned to an ongoing burglary case because Martin and Hopkins were getting nowhere, which put a shitload of tension between them. Of course they didn’t think they needed help and resented the captain’s orders.

He didn’t want to think about all the other cases piling up on his desk while he tried to tiptoe around their bruised egos. It’d been a shit day, plain and simple.

Connelly just wanted lunch. Was that too much to ask? The busy sounds of the city swirled around him like the chaotic symphony that it was. Car horns blaring, people shouting and sirens ringing in the distance. If he listened hard enough he could probably make out the low rumble of the subway. Maybe that was his stomach. He’d been headed to his favorite diner but it looked like that was out of the question now.

He turned on his heels ready to head back to his car. “I’ll—” He barely kept a grip on his phone as he collided with something solid.

“Fuck.”

Without thinking Connelly flung his arm out and wrapped it around the slim woman who was seconds away from falling. A breath later that body didn’t seem so slim—it was lithe and firm and solid against his own. He looked down into startled eyes framed by the thickest lashes he’d ever seen. Jesus, he’d never been into women but this lady was gorgeous.

His lips parted on a breath. “Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t see you.”

Something nagged at the back of Connelly’s mind even as the stranger’s lush mouth thinned into an irritated frown.

“You can let me go now,” she said.

That voice. There was something about that voice. It shivered down Connelly’s spine in a way that had his grip around her waist tightening instead of releasing.

“Don’t make me knee you in the balls, Hot Fudge.”

It wasn’t unusual to meet a woman who cursed like a sailor, not in New York City, but what was with the nickname?

Something didn’t sit right.

All his detective warning bells went off as he let the stranger go. Absently, he pushed End on his phone screen and shoved it in his pocket.

He studied the woman as he stepped away. She was about five foot six, wearing purple knee-high boots, tight-as-sin jeans and a loose black T-shirt with glittering ruby-red lips on the front. It was loose enough that it hung off one shoulder to reveal smooth pale skin. But, as provocative as the outfit was, it was the silky long black hair, thick lashes and deep red lipstick that confused the shit out of Connelly.

Because he could have sworn he knew that voice.

“Are you okay?” Connelly asked.

She searched the ground as the crowd parted around them, and didn’t bother looking up to reply. “No thanks to you.”

“Do I know you?”

She glanced up with a scowl. “Maybe.” Those painted lips transformed into a condescending smirk. A second later, the search continued and those dark eyes were refocused.

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

The stranger picked up a cell phone from the gravelly sidewalk. “Thank fuck.” The sigh of relief tickled more than Connelly’s oversensitive nerves and for a moment he couldn’t blink.

“Azariah?” No. It couldn’t be…could it?

The waiter. His waiter.

He didn’t look familiar at all. Instead he looked…wicked. Tempting.

Holy fuck.

Something must have given his secret thoughts away because those luscious lips tipped up in a wry smile that lit Connelly up like a torch soaked in gasoline.

“What’s wrong, Hot Fudge, choke on your own tongue?” His sinful laugh was full of amusement and a little grit, but mostly scorn.

This was a rock star—full impact, aggressive and beautiful. There wasn’t anything average about him now. For a guy who claimed to be great at his job, Connelly was having a difficult time merging the two versions. They didn’t fit and it was disturbing his need for everything to make sense.

He stood there staring while his mind reeled.

“Don’t worry, it’s not airborne. You can’t catch queer.” With a roll of his eyes, Azariah strutted away with an intoxicating swagger that was so full of confidence and strength it blew Connelly’s mind. His palms were sweaty and his chest ached from holding his breath too long. He’d been watching the waiter he knew only as Azariah since he’d transferred to the 23rd three months ago and started eating lunch at Sal’s. Something about the guy had captured Connelly’s interest. A puzzle he hadn’t been able to solve. Now he knew what he’d been missing.

Bright red lips and a pair of killer heels. Damn.

Talk about a puzzle. The Azariah mystery had just gotten interesting.

The problem was, Connelly couldn’t solve this one. He couldn’t pursue Azariah no matter how appealing he found his daring personality. If he did, everything he’d worked for since his father passed would be ruined. Still, instead of making his way back to his car like he’d planned, he followed Azariah into the diner.

Hell, he needed to eat didn’t he? It didn’t have to mean anything.

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About Elizabeth

elizabeth-varlet-author-pic-sElizabeth Varlet is a thirtysomething newly married world-traveler who devours books like they were candy. A nerd at heart, she spends way too many hours binging on episodes of her favorite television shows and dreaming of the day she can adopt a dog—whom she’s already named.

She started writing stories in high school and hasn’t stopped. Now her characters like to get frisky under the covers. Or the stars, or in a car, or up against the wall—they’re not picky.

Elizabeth believes in love of all shapes and sizes and wants nothing more than to share the beauty in the form of stories.

Contact Links: 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Instagram | Goodreads | (NSFW) Tumblr | For exclusives, join my Facebook readers group: FB: Elizabeth’s Entourage | Or subscribe to my newsletter: Newsletter

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Giveaway!

Win a ecopy of Dark and Dazzling & a Sassy Swag Bag!

(Just leave a comment on this post)
(Ends 17th November 2016)
Elizabeth will pick a random winner from the comments.

Review

elizabeth-varlet-dark-and-dazzling-cover-1Title: Dark & Dazzling

Series: Sassy Boyz 02

Author:  Elizabeth Varlet

Genre: Contemporary, Dub-Con

Length: Novel (195pgs)

Publisher: Carina Press (November 7th 2016)

Heat Level: Explicit

Heart Rating:  ♥♥♥♥ 4 Hearts

Blurb: Z doesn’t need a hero…

Azariah “Z” Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he’s more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living. 

Connelly is a white knight with a badge…

For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He’s been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it’s not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z’s problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there’s one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it’s this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

ISBN: B01HXT6XTC

Product Link: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01HXT6XTC

Reviewer: Aerin

Review:  Darkness, angst and heartbreak are feelings that overwhelm this book; I expected it to an extent because Z was presented to us (in book #1) as dark and moody, an angel who is anything but pure and bright. Z doesn’t believe in happily ever after’s, rainbows, unicorns or white picket fences. Z is not made for love; his life is driven by a pride so strong and foolish, it leads him to make awful choices that he’ll have to live with forever.

Z is a character that DEMANDS attention and will not let you take your focus off him for even a second. Dark & Dazzling is written from dual points of view and it’s the best thing that could’ve happened to this book. I needed to see Z through Connelly’s eyes more than anything else! Connelly showed us a different side of Z, one that would’ve been harder to see without his help because of all the darkness that surrounds Z at all times. Under all the sass, wit and bitter words aimed to keep people at a distance, hides a vulnerable soul who is afraid of becoming dependent of others and is terrified of finding the one person he cannot live without. Z’s memories of his mother are painful but also necessary because they allow us to see what shaped Z into the man he is today.

Detective Connelly Reid is the opposite of Z, a knight is shining armor whose innate goodness makes him into a person who’s loyal, a “fixer” who needs to help those he loves. I loved seeing Z through his eyes, it made it easier for me to forgive Z for his destructive and reckless behavior that took place at the 65% mark. Z almost ruined the book for me and his selfishness pissed me the fuck off. But Connelly saw him worthy of forgiveness and so did I; there’s a definite moment when Z starts over, decides to change and become someone worthy of love. I liked it!

There are a couple of dub-con moments that made me feel uneasy and slightly confused. I can’t say they are definite triggers and while non-con and dub-con are usually hard limits for me, I didn’t feel the need the give up on this book because of them. They were just so intense, dark and angsty! And there were no warnings about them, although since this is an arc and edits can be made before it is released to the public, I truly hope the publisher will take care of this oversight.

Dark & Dazzling might not end with a definite HEA, but the HFN is pretty strong and full of optimism. Fierce & Fabulous remains my favorite book so far and I’m truly looking forward to the next books! And let me just acknowledge that Varlet can write some seriously steamy sex scenes! Phew!

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8 thoughts on “Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet Blog Tour, Guest Post, Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!”

  1. Thanks for the review! Sounds like an interesting story, but I agree with you that there should be warnings if those scenes stay in.

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  2. Great list. Netflix and Youtube are especially bad culprits, nevermind twitter. Those three really consume time.

    Thank you for the excerpt!

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  3. Love it! Gorgeous cover, great excerpt and review! I HAVE to read this story! Well, when I’m not writing, my distractions are FB, Netflix and reading the wonderful stories written by my fellow authors. Occasionally I am distracted by the need to cook and clean house! Lol

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