Monday, July 9, 2018

Review + Guest Post: International Guy, Volume 1 by Audrey Carlan

International Guy, Volume 1
Audrey Carlan
Montlake Romance
July 17, 2018

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My name is Parker Ellis. You can call me The Dream Maker. This is where my story begins.

There’s a world of women waiting for me, but my journey starts here, in three cities: Paris. New York. Copenhagen.

International Guy Inc. is owned and operated by Parker Ellis, a ladies’ man with a high IQ and a big libido. He’s the most successful life and love coach in the world, and he’s smart enough to know he can’t run a multimillion-dollar company alone.

He hires two friends whose areas of expertise complement his own. They comprise The Dream Maker, The Love Maker, and The Money Maker. Together, they advise the wealthiest people in the world: Hollywood hotshots, European royalty, and the CEOs of multibillion-dollar companies. And sometimes they can’t help it when things heat up and they end up in bed with their clients. Quite literally.

This International Guy likes his playboy lifestyle, and he’s not looking for commitment. After all, there’s a whole world waiting for him. But as he goes from city to city, and from woman to woman, it’s possible that he just might find his own love along the way…

Audrey Carlan's approach to International Guy, Volume 1 is quite interesting. Since I've only read the first novella in the collection, this review is mostly going to be my first impressions. 

Going into International Guy, Volume 1, I really wanted to love it. A romance with a manwhore hero that reluctantly finds love? Yes, please! That's what I thought when I started reading the first novella in International Guy, Volume 1. Yeah, this was not what I expected. First, Parker doesn't meet his heroine until the second novella. That wouldn't bug me if he wasn't hooking up with other women in the first part. I know he's not cheating, but I still want it to be the budding relationship between the hero and heroine to be the focus of the book. Not him hooking up with other women. That almost sealed the deal for me. However, I kept reading because I enjoyed Audrey's writing style. It's sexy AF, which is what I've been craving lately. Plus I love Parker's friends and hope that we eventually get their romances. And of course I want to see if Parker changes his ways when he does meet his potential heroine. So I'm going to continue reading the book and I'll come back with a completed review.

Kudos to Audrey for stepping outside of the box. It's definitely not your conventional romance, but if that's what you like I'd say give it a shot.

Message From the Author: Audrey Carlan

Hello my lovelies,

My name is Audrey Carlan and I’m the #1 New York Times and Worldwide bestselling author of Calendar Girl. I’m here today to share with you my brand new blockbuster series, International Guy! I cannot express how excited I am to share this story with you. Not only will I promise you a new book boyfriend to swoon over, but an intense serial that will take you on a journey unlike any you’ve had before.

This story is told primarily through the eyes of my hero, Parker Ellis, CEO of International Guy, Inc. known to his team as the “Dream Maker”. He is joined by his partners Royce Sterling, the “Money Maker” and Bogart “Bo” Montgomery dubbed the “Love Maker.” The IG team helps individuals all over the globe with unique problems often involving life and love coaching.

Now I’m going to introduce my main man, Parker Ellis!

Audrey: Hey Park, how’s it hanging, brother?

Parker: Nice and tight, a little to the left.

Audrey: Gross.

Parker: Pretty lady, you asked.

Audrey: I’ve been asked to find out from you what would you consider the perfect date in each of the cities you’re traveling to in International Guy: Volume 1?

Parker: Well, to start, Paris is considered one of the most romantic cities in the world. And what is the most romantic symbol in Paris?

Audrey: The Seine River?

Parker: Audrey, babe, no. The most iconic symbol is the Eiffel Tower.

Audrey: Oh, well yeah, that makes sense.

Parker: For me, a perfect date would be to bring my beautiful woman to the Jules Verne restaurant overlooking all of Paris. Follow dinner up with a walk along the Seine. Especially if you can stop over one of the bridges and kiss her under the moonlight. Women eat that shit up.

Audrey: We eat that shit up?

Parker: Well yeah. There’s nothing wrong with it. Romance is a part of the wooing process. I dig it. I enjoy a nice meal with a beautiful woman. And there’s nothing like holding a woman’s hand while walking along a majestic body of water.

Audrey: Okay, what if you were in New York?

Parker: The city that never sleeps? A personal fave of mine.

Audrey: What would you consider a perfect date there?

Parker: Hands down, dinner and a Broadway show. I believe Phantom of the Opera is still running and it has rave reviews. Plus, it’s a rather interesting and twisted love story. This gives you plenty to talk to your woman about after the show. Preferably back at her place.

Audrey: Mm hmm. And the last city? Copenhagen?

Parker: Easy. Castles. I’ve never met a woman that wasn’t enthralled by royalty or relics from a past time. I’d take my date during the day on a tour of a sprawling castle then to a comfy hole in the wall pub that offered the traditional hygge along with a pint or a nice bottle of red wine.

Audrey: Hygge?

Parker: It’s essentially a feeling of coziness and comfort. It’s that sensation you get when you’re snuggled up close, maybe in a corner booth at a pub, or sitting next to your woman in front of a warm fire.

Audrey: I can see that. I love cozying up to my husband, especially on cold nights. 

Parker: Exactly. What I think men don’t realize now a days is that women aren’t expecting too much. They want a man they’re dating to spend quality time doing different and interesting things with them. It’s not about the exact date, as in where you’ve gone or what you do when you get there. It’s more about the intention of the date. Which in my opinion is all about togetherness. Living in the moment. Experiencing things with someone you care about. Perhaps even trying new things. Feeling out what makes your partner smile. That’s when you know you’ve got something special and that’s what I shoot for on all my dates and with all of my clients.

Audrey: What would you say is your primary philosophy about dating?

Parker: Come on, Audrey, you know me. You know me.

Audrey: Answer it anyway!

Parker:  Life is about meaningful experiences and not taking the special moments we’re given for granted. Every person I take out I strive to share something unique, something memorable.

Audrey: I like that. It’s very deep.

Parker: I know something else that can get very deep.

Audrey: Hey, I’m married!

Parker: Just sayin’…hook a brother up already.

Audrey: Maybe I already have?

Parker: I cannot freakin’ wait to see who you set me up with. She better be hot!

Audrey: Come on. You know me. You know me.

Parker: Yeah, she’s hot.

Audrey: Totally.

“When you said you would take me to dinner, I had no idea it would be at the world-famous Jules Verne Restaurant in the Eiffel Tower.” Sophie squeezes my hand as an attendant leads us through a secret entrance for restaurant goers.

We’re in the belly of the beast, surrounded by iron bars and rivets galore as we wait our turn to go into the private elevator that slowly takes you from the ground level up 380 feet to where the restaurant resides.

“This way, Messieurs-dames.” The attendant, who is smartly dressed in an all-black suit, gestures to the open elevator.

It’s compact and cozy, the entire back wall glass. The sun is just setting over the horizon as we ease our way up the country’s most iconic monument.

“This is incredible!” Sophie gasps, leaning against my side.

I frown. “Have you not been to the Eiffel Tower before?”

“No, I have, but I was a child then. We visited on a school outing, and of course, I have seen it from below, walked the path, but have not experienced it as an adult.”

I hook an arm around her waist. “I’m glad we’re doing it together.”

“More first-time memories?”

She remembered. “Yes. And with a beautiful woman by my side, one I’ll never forget.”

“Then we should kiss, non?” She turns, flattens her chest against mine, and wraps her arms around my neck. “First times should always be marked with a kiss.”

I bend forward and cup her soft cheek.

She lifts up onto her toes, bringing her lips a scant inch from mine. “Do not think about it. Just do it.”

’Nuff said. I lay my lips over hers and take her lips in a slow, meaningful kiss. She opens her mouth instantly, inviting me in. I accept the invitation, licking deep and devouring her. Her sugar-and-spice scent swirls around me, coating me in heaven. Her tongue dances with mine as I turn her head left, then right, going deeper, wanting more. Our kiss becomes heated, bodies pressing against one another, trying to get closer. I need skin . . . her skin.

She moans into my mouth right as the lift stops and the bell dings, announcing we’ve made it to our destination. It takes serious effort to leave the beauty of her mouth and body, but I peel myself away, and she slides her hands down her dress, making herself presentable once again.

I guide her in front of me as the attendant takes our names and looks up the reservation I made this morning when we got to Rolland Group Inc. I was lucky to score a reservation, but apparently midweek is easier when you’re planning on spending several hundred euros a plate.

We’re seated in a position that’s perfect for two and right next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, which give us a spectacular view of Paris at dusk.

“Did you know that Chef Hugues de Saint Vincent will be making our meals tonight? He is a culinary genius.” Sophie smiles wide, and I vow to do more to put that smile on her face.

Audrey Carlan is an internationally renowned author who writes wickedly hot love stories. Translated into more than thirty different languages across the globe, Audrey’s books have hit the bestseller lists for the New York Times, USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly. She is best known for the worldwide bestselling Calendar Girl series and Trinity saga, and her novel Resisting Roots is scheduled to become a PassionFlix movie.

Audrey lives in the California Valley with her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters,” or with her nose stuck in a steamy romance novel. 

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