What do you get when you mix a bottle of tequila, a single mom moonlighting as a stripper, and her sinfully sexy boss with an impulsive side?
Married. You get married.
Rich. Demanding. Hot. Crazy.
That was Beckett Cruz in a nutshell.
Not to mention wild, determined, dangerous, and forbidden.
He was my boss–and, after a drunken moment of insanity, my new husband.
An annulment was impossible… so was keeping him.
I was taking my daughter and leaving, determined to give her a quieter life.
But Beckett Cruz had never taken no for an answer.
And he wasn’t about to take mine.
What happens in Vegas… might just keep you there.
(STRIPPED DOWN is a standalone, erotic romance novel. It is a companion to STRIPPED BARE, although it isn’t necessary to read it first.)
Disclaimer: This is a companion novel to Stripped Bare but can be read as standalone. Though, it is my recommendation that you read them in order to enjoy the full experience with these characters.
I adored Stripped Bare (Read My Review) – in fact it is one of my top Rom-Com’s of 2016 till date and with that little sneak peak into the havoc Beckett will be in for with Stripped Down – and it already was my favourite **grins maniacally**
Two best friends, owners of strip clubs and strippers themselves find love this duology – what’s not to love about this?
“Come sit up here where you won’t feel like you’re being interrogated.”
“Are you going to interrogate me up there?”
He set the glasses on the bar with a clink and peered at me sideways. “Are you going to tell me what’s got you lookin’ more lost than a hooker outside a nunnery?”
“I doubt it.”
We met Beckett, an overgrown spoiled little boy who is on ego trip and definitely doesn’t understand the word “no” – not that he hears the word no often being the HOT, SEXY STRIPPER BILLIONNAIRE he is. In fact, he could strip for me anytime he wants 😉
Cassie is a single mother to the world’s most adorable princess Ciara aka CiCi! She is a stripper at Beckett’s Club by night, not because she enjoys it (duh!) but because she has absolutely no other choice. This is the only job which can earn the money she wants for her daughter and for her father’s medical expenses, not to mention wanting to get out of the Sin City!
When Cassie finds out some really bad news about her father, it is Beckett who ends up supporting her; sure his support comes in the form of drinks and help in form of more shifts, it doesn’t quite end up well. They rock each other’s world not just in bed but apparently in a chapel with both of them married. To each other (in case, there was any confusion!).
“I’m not sure you can insult me any more this evening.”
My expression matched his as I leaned against the wall opposite him. “I’m certain I can. I have a whole vocabulary of words for you I haven’t thrown out yet.”
I had wanted to read Beckett’s story ever since that last snippet at the end of Stripped Bare – and since Vegas is associated with drunken marriages, I was a little apprehensive that this one might end up being a cliché that might not be as fun as the first one!
I shouldn’t have been scared – there is a reason why Emma Hart went to the top of my favourite authors and auto-buy authors list 😀
I knew he’d come back and tell me why all of those things were nothing like he wanted, nothing he could ever imagine wanted, and I didn’t care. I didn’t care that I wasn’t. I cared that I was more real than the vapid creatures he usually associated himself with.
If that meant I wasn’t good enough, then I liked not being good enough.
Except it didn’t come.
The attack I was expecting never surfaced.
Because he took three solid steps toward me, grabbed my hand, pulled me against him, and then, with one hand clamped around the back of my neck, kissed me.
He kissed me.
Like there was no air left and kissing me was the only way to stay alive. Like he was sinking into an ocean and I was the only thing keeping his head above water. Like everything was wrong and I was the only thing to make it right.
He kissed me like the world was ending around us and I was the memory he wanted to die with.
Beckett is the most AMAZING, SWOONY and HOT hero I have read after West Rykman – he started off as a male stripper but ended up as the half owner of two clubs and definitely doesn’t need to work for the female company, but what he is also, one of the sweetest, the most considerate and definitely the most compassionate hero I have read in a while. He literally just went to the top of my Favorite Heroes list of 2016 ❤
Cassie, on the other, is cautious, stubborn and definitely sassy – a perfect match for everything that is Beckett; she has had to be for she did have the responsibility of becoming a mother as a teenager and now that she 23 years old, she just freaking made another one (or so she thinks!) by getting drunkenly married to her boss! HER BOSS!
There is so much to swoon in this book – the chemistry between Beck and Cassie is OFF THE CHARTS and the connection between Beckett and CiCi? I swear with every conversation that they both had, my ovaries exploded or just went gooey!
“I’m sorry I just cried all over your shirt.”
“It’s just a shirt.”
“It’s just a shirt that has mascara stains all over its shoulder.”
Beck pulled back and peered down at his shoulder. “Does it come out in the wash?”
I sat back and met his gaze. “Ask Mia.”
“I’ll do just that.” He hit her name in his call log, hit speaker, and waited for her to answer.
“Beck, I already told you I’m not washing your underwear,” was the line she opened with. “I don’t mind helping you be an adult, but the underwear is a step too far.”
“Yes, thank you. You’ve said that a hundred times. You’ll be pleased to know I collected my boxers from the dry cleaner this morning,” he replied.
“You took your underwear to the dry cleaners?”
“Yes. I have a question for you. Does cried-in mascara come out of a white shirt? Cassie got it dirty.”
I smacked him. “It was your fault!”
“Oh god,” Mia groaned down the line. “What did you do to her?”
“I offered her a better job,” Beck said honestly.
“I’m not sure washing your underpants equals a better job, Beck. No wonder she cried .”
“But yes, it should. Why are you asking me anyway? I’m just going to find it in your laundry basket next week.”
“I asked her and she told me to ask you.”
A pause, and then, “Watch yourself, Beck. She’s got your number. And I don’t mean your dick size.”
Ms. Hart handled everything in this book superbly – she made sure that West and Beckett’s friendship got the same importance it did in Stripped Bare; while the sibling relationship that Mia and Beckett had, had me grinning EVERY SINGLE TIME. There was absolutely no stupid drama; yes there were fights, stubbornness, and insanity but there was no drama that could have easily been the way to go with a strip club owner and a playboy, but it was so refreshing to see such a drama free romance – no other women, no cheating, no stupid arse decisions: Just Plain Old Romance with a hint of humor, sassiness and definitely loads and loads of smex! ❤
This duology (standalones!) literally has my TOP RECOMMENDATION for this year, especially if you adore fun romances with drama free and absolutely brilliant writing! ❤
“I’m absolutely terrified of walking away from you and never again being as free as you make me feel. Of never feeling the way you make me feel. Of never laughing as hard as I do with you. I’m terrified that, one day, I’d look into your eyes again and see everything we could have been. And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do because I’ve never been afraid of anything so badly in my entire life—except you. Wanting you. Having you. Losing you. You’re the ultimate monster under the bed.”
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Amazon UK | Amazon AU | Amazon CA | Barnes & Noble | iBooks
“Beck?” I managed to get his name out just before he opened the front door.
“Yeah?” He spun back to face me, his dark eyes unreadable.
I turned my face to the side so I could see him fully. “You don’t have to go,” I said softly. “You can stay. Only if you want to though.”
He rubbed his hand down his face, his eyes never leaving mine, then walked back into the kitchen toward me. I stood up away from the fridge as he stopped right next to me.
Slowly, he touched his hand to my face, his fingertips teasing my hairline. His dark gaze searched mine, and my heart jumped into my throat as the usual tingles his touch sparked danced down my neck. Then, he slid his hand into my hair, allowing the blonde strands to fall away from his fingertips.
“Do I want to go home to my big-ass house with its cold emptiness?” he asked in a low voice. “Or go to the club where half the girls there still see me as a mountain to be conquered? Not particularly, Blondie. I’d rather stay here. Even if there will be a demand for movies and water and foot rubs from a tiny, sick person.”
“You can.” My voice was quiet, like his. Even if my internal screams from self-preservation and vulnerability were deafeningly loud as they told me I was a fool, that he had to go, that this would never be enough for him.
“Do you want me to?” His question was… honest.
Like he didn’t want me to answer.
“Do I want you to stay here in my tiny house so my daughter can fall more in love with you than she already is? Not really. But…” Don’t be a fool, Cassie. Don’t admit you want him to stay. He’s just going to hurt you. “I don’t exactly want you to go either.”
“For her, or for you?”
“I don’t want to answer that question.”
“If I kissed you right now, would you ram your knee into my cock?”
“I’d briefly consider it, but I probably wouldn’t do it.”
His lips twitched to the side. “You just answered the question.”
Then, of course, he cupped the back of my head, and he kissed me. It was slow, sweet, gentle. And I didn’t consider kneeing him in the balls for a single second.
Beck pulled back and trailed his hand down my arm before he finally let me go. “I’m going home to get changed and then come back. Do you need anything while I’m gone? For CiCi? You?”
“I don’t…” I sighed and chewed back my pride. “I meant to go to the store today after work to get some stuff like bread, milk… important stuff. But now I can’t.”
“I can get it. Just tell me what you need.”
I bit the inside of my lip, then nodded. “Okay. Let me write it down.” I walked through into the front room with him hot on my heels and grabbed the notebook and pen from under the coffee table. A few things were already scrawled down, so I added a couple more things, including more medicine. I tore the sheet off the notebook, stood, then gave it to Beck. “Let me get my wallet.”
He grabbed my wrist, stopping me. “I’m not taking your money.”
I lifted my gaze to his. “You can’t pay for my groceries.”
“I can and I will.”
“You can’t and you won’t.”
“I can and I will.”
“You can’t and you won’t.”
“I can do this all day, baby. I’m stubborn as fuck.” His eyes told me he wasn’t lying. “And we all know I’m a brat about the word no. So, I can, I will, and I’m going to. If I can’t help you by buying a measly eight items, I’m an asshole who shouldn’t be allowed around other people.”
“You can’t buy my groceries,” I repeated. It was a lame argument. I was going to lose, but I’d fight until I went down.
Beck’s eyes twinkled as he leaned in. “Don’t worry. If you really want to pay me back, I’ll take a blow job. I imagine your lips around my cock will be a pretty good thank you.”
My jaw dropped as he backed off with a wink.
“Mouth open already, Cassie? Enthusiasm. I like that.”
I snapped my jaw shut and glared at him. “You’re a dirty pig.”
“I know. But I’ve got fifty bucks that says you’ll be sucking my dick by bedtime. If you don’t agree…” He shrugged one shoulder, his lips curved in that dangerous smirk.
“If you’re lucky, I’ll bite it.”
“I’ll take that as I’m in for a good time.”
One more wink, complete with expanding grin, and he was gone.
By day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies – usually wine – and writes books.
Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.
She likes to be busy – unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.