Saturday, May 13, 2017

Release Day: MAELSTROM by Kass Barrow-Includes Review, Excerpt & Giveaway!

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Length: 69,000 words

Publisher: JMS Books


When Kylor Knightley, a multi-millionaire nightclub owner, is out talent-spotting at an open mic event in London's Limehouse district, the last thing the stiff-lipped Brit expects is to fall head-over-heels for a devastatingly handsome singer ten years his junior.

Born in New York, twenty-two-year-old Eden McFadden now calls London home and has ambitions of making it big in the capital's music scene. In the meantime, the feisty free spirit is secretly rocking it as a stripper at a gay club in Soho. But when fate brings him and Kylor together in Limehouse, it starts a chain of events that tears both of their worlds apart.

It's going to take some serious attitude adjustment for the smart-mouthed stripper and the arrogant British gent to find common ground, but the attraction is too strong to ignore. Sometimes you have to trust in fate and see where it takes you.


Eden was so pumped about meeting the guy with the sparkling turquoise eyes that he couldn't wait to tell someone. He wasn't usually one to gossip, but he'd pulled up a chair alongside Blade, who was busy removing his guyliner. Eden was talking to Blade's reflection in the mirror, relating the moment he'd looked down and seen the gorgeous guy staring back up at him.

Just then someone shouted, "Which of you is green?" and there was the stranger; standing in the doorway next to a security guard.

Eden sat gawking at his visitor and all the strength drained out of his body as if someone had pulled his plug. Blade nudged him. "Don't just sit there. That's your guy, isn't it? God, he really is gorge!"

Eden slowly got to his feet, praying his knees wouldn't give way, and shoved a shaky hand in the air. "That package is for me."

The weak attempt at humour was his way of handling the embarrassment he felt because he knew that if the token had been black or pink the security guard wouldn't have needed to ask whose it was. Everyone knew Stemmy's tokens were black and Oberon's were pink. But this was only the second time Eden had handed out a token. The last time he'd invited a guy backstage, his guest had been under the mistaken impression the token entitled him to instant sexual gratification, but Eden hadn't been that into the guy.

The guard nodded at Eden's visitor and left.

Still in just his pink briefs, Eden scurried back to his own station and rummaged around in his duffel bag for a clean top. The first thing to come to hand was his old Keep Calm and Carry On Funking T-shirt. He quickly pulled it on and rolled it down his sweat-dampened chest and abs. Then he stood by his dressing table, ready to greet his guest, with one hand resting on the table for support. Eden knew he shouldn't be getting this worked up over someone he'd only just clapped eyes on. He had no idea what the guy was like. I haven't even spoken to him yet. Maybe he's just a good-looking asshole in a suit.

As the guy approached, Eden's eyes widened in awe. It felt like he was watching the scene through a slow motion filter. He was entranced by the rhythmic sway of the guy's narrow hips and everything else in the room faded to a blur. The guy's suit jacket was unbuttoned and his left hand rested inside the trouser pocket, while his right arm hung loose by his side. It was like a breath of self-assured elegance had wafted into the room.

And then there was his hair. It was glorious. A flame-coloured shock of tumbling waves, its hue changed as the light danced over it, like an abstract of wildfire and scorched earth. It jarred with the image of the sophisticated city gent in the cool blue suit. It was hypnotising, the way the picture was so wrong and yet so right.

Eden could tell straight away this guy was no bit player on life's stage. He had a starring role. You could tell from his arrogant swagger that the only rules he ever played by were his own. He was like a dream come true to Eden. A guy with "Fuck Me" written all over him and a seriously hot "Fuck You"attitude to compliment the looks.

Eden swallowed hard. Where have you been all my life?

Carra's Review

Maelstrom is author Kass Barrow's debut novel; given that, I thought that the writing was solid and the story flowed well.  It's a bit of opposites attract, along with an age gap (ten years here), with the slightly older businessman and the younger musician/stripper being our couple of the story.

Kylor comes across as stuck-up and pretentious, sticking to his guns on keeping business and pleasure separate and being a bit oblivious to what is really going on between him and Eden--though he may have been doing so deliberately.  Eden is young, free-spirited, incredibly talented...but sometimes does exhibit a distinct lack of maturity.  Both men are attracted to each other, but Kylor's stubborn attitude pushes Eden away at every turn.

To be honest, I didn't really feel a lot of chemistry between the two when they were together, even late in the story when they were moving past Kylor's reservations about the two of them being together.  While they may have been physically attracted to each other, that emotional connection just wasn't there for me.  As much as I liked Eden's character, I think a lot of the lack of connection between him and Kylor was due to Eden's maturity level through most of the story.

Maelstrom turned out to be a 3-star read for me, primarily due to my fondness for Eden and the strength of the writing.  While the intimate parts are fade to black, there is enough adult language and innuendo to place this in the 18+ reader zone.

Author Bio

Kass Barrow lives 100 miles north of London in a small town in the farming county of Lincolnshire. Despite always having lived in the same area she has seen a fair bit of the world, from the eerie innards of the King's Chamber in the Great Pyramid, to the majestic vistas that come with snowboarding in the Rockies.

However, none of these life experiences prepared her for the emotional roller-coaster ride of penning a novel. Now she has become so accustomed to having four handsome gents in her life - her husband, her dog and her two main characters - that she can't imagine life any other way.


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