Title: Nothing Ventured
Author: Kristen Luciani
Series: The Venture Series
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Blue Tulip Publishing
Mia Bradshaw realized long ago that falling in love is a harbinger of pain. As a single mom working for one of the most prestigious venture capital firms in the country, she doesn’t have time for serious emotional entanglements. Her sort-of–friend boy is dependable, respectful and…okay, fine, maybe a little lukewarm but whatever! Who ever said there was anything wrong with being…vanilla? It’s safe, low-risk and not fraught with conflict and heart wrenching disappointment.
Chris Camden is one of the most eligible bachelors in northern California. A successful entrepreneur with a hot car and a panty-dropping grin doesn’t need to do much to keep his bed warm at night. His smoldering hazel-eyed gaze makes women melt at his feet. No strings, no conditions, no questions – just the way he likes it. Why should he settle for just one when there are so many sizzling alternatives begging for a spin?
A coveted opportunity to partner with Chris’s company stirs up emotions that threaten everything Mia’s been so careful to protect and control. The guy with more lines than a crowded supermarket before a snowstorm can singe her insides with the slightest accidental touch, proof that she needs to steer clear.
But reality hurls a very unexpected curve ball that can change Mia’s life in a heartbeat. And sometimes…the perception of safety is relative.
Mia shifted her weight, noticing that, even in her highest heels, Chris was still a few inches taller. Her fingertips itched to trace his chiseled jaw. What would it feel like to kiss those lips? If she tilted her chin the slightest bit— No! Thinking like that would only lead to trouble. The objective was to keep her distance. Yes, that was exactly what she had to do. Forget kissing him. Ignore that hypnotic stare and what it was doing to the hidden parts of her body. “Um, I guess I should probably find Alex.”
“So you guys are dating.”
“Oh… um, yes.”
“And you’re his plus one.”
Mia swallowed hard. “Yes.” What more could she say? That she’d purposely left out that tiny detail because she’d been desperate to see him again? Was he angry? Would he—
“Can I get you another drink?”
He wanted her to stay! It was impossible to stop the smile from spreading across her lips. “Thanks, but I’m good. I usually limit it to one when I drive. I’m way too paranoid.”
“That’s very responsible.”
“Well, I have more to consider now, you know?” Her voice grew soft, the words hanging between them. It was something he couldn’t possibly understand, no matter how much she wanted to make it so.
The intensity of his stare was mesmerizing, his nearness making her stomach flip around as if she was sixteen again.
“Chloe seems like a great kid. She’s lucky to have you.”
“Thanks, I feel the same way about her.”
“Come on, let me get you something… water, soda?”
“Diet Coke would be great.” Mia glanced over to where she’d left Alex. An empty glass sat on the bar, but he was gone. She bit her lip. If he came back and saw her standing this close to Chris… It looked bad, so incredibly bad but she was willing to take the risk if she could spend even just one more moment under his hypnotic spell.
“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but were you married to Chloe’s dad?”
Mia shook her head, a sad smile on her face. “No, I wasn’t.”
“What happened? Wait, is it okay to ask? If you don’t want to talk about it, I understand. You can just tell me how you’re going to transform LazerShark into an international conglomerate instead.”
“It’s fine, really. He died before Chloe was born. We were engaged, and the night before we were going to fly out here to tell our parents, he died in a car accident. Chloe never got to meet him.”
Chris’s eyes widened. “Jesus, I’m so sorry. Now I feel like a complete ass for asking.”
“I guess now we’re even.” She sipped her soda and smiled. “It was horrible, but it was a long time ago. After he died, I left New York and moved back here. I was so young, barely out of college, trying to start a career. My parents live close by, and they’ve been fantastic all these years. I think it’s the only reason I still have my sanity.”
“Wow. I can’t imagine how hard it’s been for you. How do you manage everything?”
“I try not to think about it. I adore Chloe, but it is ridiculous trying to balance everything. Thank God I have so much help.”
“How does Chloe handle it?”
“She’s got a grandfather and an uncle who are crazy about her. They’ve taken on the male role in her life. But it’s not the same as having your own dad, you know?”
Chris leaned against the bar. “Yeah. My brother-in-law died about a year ago, and my sister is on her own with my nieces. I’m really close with them, and I hang out there as much as possible. I could never fill the void, but I hope at least being there helps.”
Mia’s heart ached as Chris spoke about his family. His words were laced with so much pain. “I’m so sorry to hear that. Your poor family…”
He stared into his glass and swirled the ice around. “It was really bad. My sister was a mess and the girls…they’re too young to be going through this. It’s been a crappy year for all of us.”
Instinctively, she laid a comforting hand on his arm, feeling his muscles ripple under the fabric. He slowly raised his head, unmistakable longing reflected in his gaze. “Chris, I—“
“There you are!”
Mia jumped, guiltily yanking back her hand. Oh sweet Jesus, what just happened? She fiddled with her necklace, eyes darting around the room, anything to keep from staring. It was an act of sympathy, nothing else.
Blondie sauntered over to Chris, her blue eyes slightly narrowed as she regarded Mia. With an artificial smile plastered on her heavily made-up face, she snaked an arm through his. “I’m Lexi.”
Charming. Was she going to pee on him next?
Ever took a chance on an author that you’ve never heard much less anyone else has heard of? And then been completely blown away by the book that you just read from them? I mean like reading it in one sitting? Like realizing that the book is the author’s 2nd book. Yes, 2nd book and its part of a series? Yes, my dear readers…this is THAT book and THAT author. And yes, I’ve spoken to the author about the book and the whole series. Do you have to read the first book, Unlikely Venture to understand this book? No but I highly recommend that you do…just because.
I’m really not sure what to say about the book other than that I LOVED it. In fact, it’s the best book that I’ve read this year. Sorry to all the other books but I was completely blown away with Ms. Luciani’s writing style and the flow of the story. I’ll break it down for you.
- Plot – It centers around venture capitalism, IPO’s, start-up companies, gaming companies and Silicon Valley in general. Ms. Luciani’s knows her stuff about the culture. What I appreciated more than anything was her ability to talk about it in a style that anyone can understand. She doesn’t dumb it down but talks about it terms that you can understand. Fascinating to me since I have a banking background.
- Chris – He really is a man whore in the beginning. And yes, he does have sex before he gets together with Mia but its off paper so there is no ick/cheating factor. In fact, there is one scene that MOST authors would never put in a book and she does that. Its funny but at the same time, it actually shows character growth for him. I giggled when I read it but it needed to happen to him. He’s not alpha nor beta but a normal guy that just happens to be brilliant and an idiot when it comes to women at the same time. I liked him from the start and he’s in my top 5 of book boyfriends now.
- Mia – Wow! What a driven woman but she has her faults. Loving her daughter isn’t one of them but dealing with her mom (I still have that issue) is handling extremely well and the scene at the end with Chris… *mind blown* I also liked that she was close to her brother Sean and SIL, Jana. In fact, Jana is hilarious. I loved, just loved her relationship with her boss Paul. Oh yes, he is a major player in the series and I heard that his book is the next book in the series. I won’t spoil it for you but he’s not exactly what you think he is.
- Chloe (Mia’s daughter) – I love kids in books. Yes, I’m that type of reader. Chloe is a major player in the book but she’s older and isn’t intrusive. In fact, she is the reason why Mia is the way she is. Chloe is charmed by Chris just like her mother but doesn’t show it until much later in the book.
- Their families – Jana is married to Sean (Mia’s brother) and then we have Rachel (Chris’ widowed sister). What makes them so special is that Rachel and Mia are friends, their daughters are friends but both are completely clueless when it comes to Chris. Oh yes, when the lightbulb comes on that Chris and the connection. What’s even more special is how they support one another without the spitfulness that some families are. Well, Susan (Mia & Sean’s mom) is a piece of work but there is a point to her.
- Smexy times – Believe it or not, they don’t get together until after 50% of the book. I appreciate the fact that Ms. Luciani built their romance slowly and let the sexual tension build. If I had one compliant it’s actually when it happens. Trust me, you might agree with me but again, Mia and Chris needed that closeness considering what Mia had just went through.
- Alex – Which brings me to this douche. UGH! I hope and pray that Paul makes him pay. That scene towards the end has Paul being almost human and shows how much he truly likes, respects and trusts Mia. I’ve read the first book and believe me, he isn’t that human in that book. Well, at the end…in a way. Again, he’s book is going to be all kinds of awesome.
- Trope – Yes, it’s the tried and true office romance but they way the author wrote it makes it intelligent, thought-provoking and just engrossing from the beginning. Both Mia and Chris are college educated, highly intelligent people who have been waiting for that one moment when they realize how much they love each other and are willing to fight for it.
- Jay/Jessica – They are from the first book and Jay is Chris’ business partner and friend. I adored this couple from the first book and I’m glad that they are here for this one. Jay, of course, was more prominent but catching up with Jessica was a treat. I admit that after I read Mia and Chris’ story, I immediately read theirs. *Swoon*
I’m not sure what else to say about the book. Its brilliant and I can’t believe its only her second book to be published. Ms. Luciani knows her stuff. Her characters are well developed, sexy, intelligent but also flawed. Neither one of them needs “saving”. Just a swift kick in the pants to realize what’s really important and the means to go for it.
Buy this book, read this book. Buy the first book.
You’re welcome. 🙂
Kristen Luciani is a self-proclaimed momtrepreneur with a penchant for Christian Louboutins, Silicon Valley, plunging necklines and grapefruit martinis. As a deep-rooted romantic who prefers juicy drama to fill the lives of anyone other than her, she tried her hand at creating a world of enchantment, sensuality, and intrigue, finally uncovering her true passion. No pun intended…
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