Aug 18, 2013

Launch promo & ARC review: Unlocked (The Alpha Group #3) by Maya Cross

Unlocked (The Alpha Group #3) by Maya Cross

Release date: August 18th


The breathtaking conclusion to the USA Today best selling Alpha Group Series.

Who is Sebastian Lock?

The heart can lead you to dangerous places. Abandoned by the man she loves, with nothing more than sweet words and riddles for an explanation, Sophia Pearce felt like her life was crumbling before her eyes. And then they came for her. Now, things will never be the same.

Confronted with the truth about Sebastian’s identity, she’s thrust into a high stakes world beyond anything she could have imagined. A world that threatens much more than just her feelings. Sebastian’s enemies will stop at nothing to get what they want, and they want her.

Their passion for one another consumes them, but as the danger mounts, and loyalties are tested, Sophia must answer one simple question. What is she willing to risk for love?

-This book is approximately 54,000 words long, or about 200 printed pages. It contains erotic content and a dominant man who always gets what he wants in the bedroom. It is intended for readers aged 18 and over.

Huge Launch Giveaway (Kindle Fire HD 7” OR equivalent value in Amazon/B&N/iTunes vouchers, three $20 Amazon/B&N/iTunes vouchers) 
Open Internationally

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Excerpt (Note: Text may change a little before publication)

I hadn’t expected Sophia to sleep at all, not after what she’d been through. Trauma like that can ruin a person. But somehow she’d drifted off. I had no idea where she found the strength to be that tough. She never ceased to amaze me.

For a while I lay there trying to get some rest myself, but the events of the last two days had thrown my whole world into chaos. It was all happening again. The fact that I’d averted the worst didn’t make the situation any better. I was an asshole. I should never have let it get to this point, but I was weak, and it had nearly cost the woman I love her life. How the hell could I sleep knowing that?
To make matters worse, even now I was still incapable of staying away. She was as secure here as anywhere, but the moment she’d left my sight I began to feel agitated. I still hadn’t managed to shed the mindless terror that had seized me when I first heard she’d been taken. The urge to go to her, to simply hold her and never let go, had been almost overpowering.

I’d tried to distract myself. There was certainly no shortage of work to be done — most of my colleagues were holed up together in the board room, planning things until well into the night — but I was useless there. My mind only wanted to focus on one thing, and soon I found myself propped up against the wall outside her room, nursing several fingers of scotch in a heavy crystal tumbler. I didn’t know why, but just being close to her helped. I made myself vow not to enter. It had taken an immense level of control to cut her off the first time, and every moment in her presence stretched my willpower just a little more. I would keep her safe and solve all this, and then when it was all over, I’d let her go again. It was the only way.

But the moment I heard her sobbing through the door, all sense of self-control fled. Before I knew it, I was on my feet, and then in her bed. I expected her to fight, after all, I had to be the last person she wanted to see, but she didn’t. Instead she just burrowed into me without a word. I hated how perfect that felt, the way her body fit like a missing puzzle piece against mine. I still didn’t understand how such simple contact could make me so damn content, but it did.

And now she slept. I couldn’t help but run my eyes over her again. Truth be told, I’d barely been able to stop staring since the moment I entered the room. She looked so fucking beautiful lying there, her face utterly peaceful, her curves perfectly accentuated by the thin cotton sheet. She’d taken the T-shirt I left her, but not the pants, and now in the throws of sleep she’d managed to knock part of the cover free, exposing one delicate hip. It was a tiny thing, the barest hint of pale skin and black cloth, but the sight took my breath away nonetheless. I felt impossibly low ogling her after everything I’d put her through, but I was powerless to do anything else. Her body was like a drug, a burning rush through my system that was impossible to ignore. I knew how that hip would feel if only I’d reach out and touch it. I had every inch of her body charted in my head; so perfectly soft, so perfectly feminine.

Fuck. I had to pull myself together.

Ripping my gaze free, I eased my arm out from under her. I’d done what I came to do. She was resting. There was no reason for me to stay.

She stirred briefly, and I came within a hair’s breadth of pulling her back against me once more, but after a few moments she settled. Taking one last look, I moved quietly out into the corridor and resumed my watch. I’d be there if she needed me, but anything beyond that was too hard. There was no happy ending here, and letting myself think otherwise would only destroy me more.

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I was with Maya Cross and her journey with The Alpha Group series from day one and in that time, I fell in love with these books one by one. The first one - Locked - the one where we meet Sophia and Sebastian and where they meet each other and start something that will change their lives. The second one - Lockout - when they both realize things have changed and they want to be much more, but there are many secrets and trust is a fragile thing, but not impossible to earn.

And now - in Unlocked - we continue where we were left off. Sophia is in danger and Sebastian is afraid that he is the one that put her in that situation. Through the first two books the author kept us wondering about Sebastian's life and what exactly is so important to hide. This is when we finally find out the truth.

Unlocked is a combination of suspense that is much more present here then in other books; and romance and passion that is still blazing between these two, that is still too strong to ignore even when uncertainty separates them.

I really enjoyed the suspense. It had many bad guys, mystery, plenty of action and edge-of-the-seat situations, even though at times, the excitement is reduced when things are solved too quickly. It had both positive and negative sides. The negative is that I got a small feeling of disappointment, but the positive is that it balanced the more important developments so it didn't bother me that much. It actually contributed to one thing I especially admire with Maya Cross and other authors: the organization and setup of the story.

Creativity is the most important thing in writing. After that I value the writing style and story organization the most - the skill to combine all the elements you want to put in the story so that it all makes sense and is able to drive a positive response in readers. The whole Alpha Group series is a calculated evolution of a relationship that made an interesting story.

Not to mention that sometimes I really wished all that I was reading was a movie to watch and see it all live in a brilliant spectacular light. But I'm definitely not complaining.

Sophia had been a constant remarkable aspect of the series - a strong, independent, hard-working woman that discovered another side of herself when she met Sebastian. I liked her willingness to explore the more kinky side of sex. And I loved(!) what they did here in Unlocked; there isn't much play with senses in BDSM books, or I'm just reading the wrong ones. Sophia's best attribute is her determination. I like what it's still even-present.Without it, a relationship with Sebastian would've been over before it even started.

Because this final book brought out the concerned and protective side of Sebastian. The events of the past caused him to try to distance himself from Sophia, to keep her out of the danger, and that's all sweet and all from him, but not what they both need. I love that the female characters was the one to push for once. But hell yeah, even Sebastian couldn't keep out his need and that sexy dominance (mmm..;)

An amazing end to a series that has become really dear to me! Full of suspense and romance with Sophia and Sebastian gradually forming a relationship that is sure to last. Maya Cross has done an outstanding job with her first series and I'm sure she will continue to use her talent to bring us more exciting stories to follow.

PS: I'm still lusting after these beautiful covers!

Author bio

Maya Cross is a writer who enjoys making people blush. Growing up with a mother who worked in a book store, she read a lot from a very young age, and soon enough picked up a pen of her own. She’s tried her hands at a whole variety of genres including horror, science fiction, and fantasy, but funnily enough, it was the sexy stuff that stuck. She has now started this pen name as an outlet for her spicier thoughts (they were starting to overflow). She likes her heroes strong but mysterious, her encounters sizzling, and her characters true to life.

She believes in writing familiar narratives told with a twist, so most of her stories will feel comfortable, but hopefully a little unique. Whatever genre she's writing, finding a fascinating concept is the first, and most important step.

The Alpha Group is her first attempt at erotic romance.

When she's not writing, she's playing tennis, trawling her home town of Sydney for new inspiration, and drinking too much coffee.
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