Release Blast, ARC Review, Excerpt & Giveaway: Consolation Prize (Forbidden Men, #9) by Linda Kage




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Don’t you just hate it when someone destroys all your carefully made plans?

I mean, I had goals: college to graduate in one semester, a future I was working hard to reach, and an image of myself I wanted the world to see. My life was stacked into these precisely placed blocks. But then Colton Gamble came along and knocked them all askew.

I hated how he messed everything up, how he could hog all my attention whenever he was around, how he made my pulse quicken– but only because he ticked me off…not because I was attracted to him. Oh! And I hated how he knew how attractive he was too, the shallow, full of himself, doesn’t take no for an answer, too-flirty, too cocky, extremely irritating jerk.

The boy had all the qualities that turned me off. Or so I thought.

One night he wasn’t quite the brainless, over-confident jerk I usually took him for.

One night, he took care of me when I was at my lowest. He opened up to me and made me open up to him.

Now I’m learning maybe he’s not what I first thought he was. And maybe I’M not what I first thought I was. Maybe it’s okay to rearrange a couple of my perfectly set blocks. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll stop worrying about what I’m afraid everyone else will think and finally reach for something I really want. It’s possible some of my plans need to be destroyed, and Colton Gamble is exactly the kind of mess I need in my life.

What do you think? Should I give him a try?

Desperately seeking your advice,

Julianna Radcliffe




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4.5 fun, sexy, emotional stars

I have mad love for this series. It’s one of my all-time favourites, and I have been so excited to read about the youngest member of the gang – Colton Gamble (younger brother of Noel, Caroline and Brandt). His story is lots of fun with laugh-out-loud humour, heart-clenching drama, a beautiful romance and I absolutely loved it!




Yes, baby boy Gamble is all grown up, and damn, he’s one sexy, confident, dirty-talking alpha with a smart mouth and a huge heart. We’ve watched him grow from a shy, damaged 8 year old to a cocky, arrogant, cheeky smartass, and I loved getting to see him as an 18 year old college freshman, finally finding the love that he so desperately wants.

Colton met Julianna Radcliffe when he came into the Forbidden night club and saw her working behind the bar. As a shameless, cocky 17 year old he made it a habit to hit on her at every opportunity with cheesy pickup lines and unsubtle innuendo. But it was a different Gamble that interested Julianna. She had a crush on Colton’s older brother, Brandt, and even asked him out. They lasted half of a date before Brandt had to come to the rescue of his now-wife, Sarah, and that was the end of that.

It’s at Brandt and Sarah’s wedding where everything changes for Colton. Asked to ‘babysit’ Julianna are the reception, he starts in with his usual lines and teasing, but the conversation takes a turn for the deeper, and they start to see more in each other – realising that they have things in common and that all of that banter and arguing actually hides a pretty significant attraction.

Colton is everything that Julianna believes she doesn’t need – for a start he’s almost four years younger than her, there’s the connection with Brandt, and then there’s the fact that he is white and she is black, and she knows what a drama that will create. But she can’t move past the fact that she’s wildly attracted to the gorgeous, annoying jerk, and she can’t get him out of her head. And that’s not helped by Colton fighting with everything he’s got to win her over.

“What else you got?”
“What do you mean, what else do I got?”…
“My forbidden status.” He snapped his fingers, encouraging me back on track. “You said
first of all with the age thing, leading me to believe there was more than one aspect making me so illicit and exciting. So what else you got, baby doll? Lay it on me, thick and heavy, or you know, just lay yourself on me.”

I loved their banter. Colton’s constant teasing and Julianna’s sass is a hilariously explosive combination, and with their arguments firing both of them up in more ways than one, and the refreshing openness between them about how they are feeling, the sexual tension that it incites is fantastic!

“We need to have sex. I’m talking no-holds-barred, hanging from the ceiling, tearing each other’s clothes off, animal-fucking sex.”
His delicious descriptions swept through me like a hurricane. My hormones stirred to life and licked their lips, ready to climb him right there.
“I don’t know. Doesn’t that sounds…wrong to you?” my stupid conscience prompted me to say as I pressed my hand to my forehead.
Colton grinned one of his panty-dropping grins. “Oh, baby doll. Wrong’s just the way I like it.”
“See…” I pointed at him, frowning. “You say shit like that, and I know I should get annoyed and offended by it and want to smack your arrogant face, but no…no. Stupid me, I just want to climb you like a freaking stripper pole, shedding clothes as I go.”

I love their relationship. It’s fun, it’s feisty, it’s full of passion and it’s so, so hot! The youngest Gamble has certainly grown up, and his dirty talk and bedroom skills are sexy as all hell. At one point I felt like a dirty perve for getting all riled up over him, but damn! And though their sexy time is reflective of their growing feelings for each other, their personalities shine through every single moment, and their never-ending banter is wildly entertaining.

“On a scale of the Saraha Desert to Niagara Falls … How wet are you right now?”

But as much fun as they have together, they have some major hurdles to overcome – the biggest one being the issue of their inter-racial relationship. I love that Colton didn’t even think twice about it, but it torments Julianna, and the issues they face are real – and slightly terrifying. But it doesn’t prevent them from falling and falling hard. Their romance is intense and incredibly emotional, and I felt every moment of it.

“He was worth it. He was worth the objections we’d probably receive from both our families and possibly even our friends. He was worth the heartbreak I was almost certain would come. He was worth all of it.”

If you’re concerned about the fact that Julianna was interested in Brandt first, please don’t let that put you off this book. It’s not skimmed over, it’s explained and dealt with in a sensible, realistic way, and in a way that left me in no doubt that Colton is so much more than Julianna’s consolation prize. He’s the man that captured her from the moment they met, her soul mate in every way, and the man that she truly needs, and what they find together is everything that they both truly deserve.

“Colton had come along … he’d ignited things inside me his brother hadn’t even been able to touch.”

I’m used to coming in second place.”
“Not with me you don’t.”

And as if all of that drama isn’t enough, there’s a big twist thrown in at the end that really gets the heart pumping! Honestly, I didn’t think it was necessary, but it shows us the intensity of the love between these two characters and the resolution of it all was gorgeous to see.

As with all books in this series, I love that we get to see so much of the extended family that is this group of characters, in particular Colton’s family. His relationships with his siblings and their partners was absolutely gorgeous, each of them unique and special. I love his teasing dynamic with Ten and Caroline, the best-friend connection with Brandt and Sarah, and the almost parental love and respect he has for Noel and Aspen (whose own storyline was heart-wrenchingly emotional and beautifully written). And of course Pick and the rest of the crew are all a part of the story in one way or another. I LOVE this bunch of characters, and will take any chance to check in with them.

I loved this book. Colton’s book was everything that I wanted for him and I absolutely loved seeing him get his happy ending. Linda Kage has given us yet another unforgettable story, and I absolutely loved it!

4.5 stars.

An Advanced Reader copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.



“Just for that, I’m going to make you cuddle.”

“Cuddle?” My eyes bulged as he crawled closer.

For some reason, cuddling

struck more fear inside me than getting slapped or punched. I knew exactly how to respond to those—kick his ass out of my apartment. But with cuddling, I was lost.

I edged away from him, shaking my head, only to yelp out a surprised scream when he snaked out a hand and caught hold of my leg, stilling me.

“Yes, cuddle,” he said. “I like to cuddle.”

My muscles clenched and limbs went tense as he climbed up right into my personal space and wrapped himself around me like a second skin.

“I…I’m not big on cuddling,” I finally admitted, my body board-stiff against him.

“Really?” He sounded surprised by that. “Well, don’t worry, by the time I’m through with you, you’ll love it.”


The Forbidden Men series

Price of a Kiss  To Professor, With Love  Be My Hero  With Every Heartbeat  A Perfect Ten

Worth It  The Girl's Got Secrets  Priceless  consolation-prize  Cover Coming Soon - 80

Price of a Kiss (#1) (Mason & Reese)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

To Professor, With Love (#2) (Noel & Aspen)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Be My Hero (#3) (Pick & Eva)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

With Every Heartbeat (#4) (Quinn & Zoey)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

A Perfect Ten (#5) (Ten & Caroline)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Worth It (#6) (Knox & Felicity)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

The Girl’s Got Secrets (#7) (Asher & Remy)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Priceless (#8) (Sarah & Brandt)
Buy:  Kindle Ebook  |  Paperback

Consolation Prize (#9) (Colton & Julianna)
Buy:  Amazon  |  Paperback

The Price of Mason (#10) (Mason POV novella)
Coming soon



To celebrate the release of Consolation Prize, Linda Kage is giving away a $25 Amazon gift card.


The Escapist Book Blog is not responsible for this giveaway.


About the Author

linda-kageLinda Kage grew up on a dairy farm in the Midwest as the youngest of eight children. Now she lives in Kansas with her husband, daughter, and nine cuckoo clocks. Her life’s been blessed with lots of people to learn from and love. Writing’s always been a major part of her world, and she is so happy to finally share some of her stories with other romance lovers.

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