Billionaire Archer Bancroft always gets what he wants—and he’s wanted Ivy Emerson, his best friend’s sister, for far too long. Being forbidden and untouchable only makes her more tempting. When a million-dollar bet with his friends throws down a challenge—last bachelor standing takes all—Archer knows he can win. That is, until one enchanted evening with Ivy takes his heart for a ride.
Ivy knows Archer is nothing but bad news: Infuriating, arrogant…and completely intoxicating. But despite her best efforts, she can’t seem to keep away. When a stolen kiss leads to a night of heated passion, Ivy realizes she’s in trouble and in head over heels.
But in the light of day, everything seems clearer and Archer’s not so sure a one-night stand is all he wants. Concocting a plan to keep Ivy by his side, Archer might just be willing to lose this bet…and win the jackpot instead.
THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SOME SPOILERS... READ AT YOUR DISCRETION!!!
I would give CRAVE a 4 star rating. I finished it in one sitting. I couldn't manage to put it down. The story flowed effortlessly. I was sucked into the story from the first chapter. I think Monica Murphy did a great job with CRAVE. The chemistry between all of the characters is very realistic, I felt as though I could be friends with them.
Crave is a story about a billionaire, Archer Bancroft whose family owns a chain of hotels. Archer has a very volatile relationship with his father. His father never believed in him and never thought he would succeed in life on his own. Archer proved his father wrong when he opened a successful hotel called, HUSH.
Archer and his two best friends, Gage and Matt are at a friend's wedding and he can feel all eyes on him. When he looks around, all he sees are women waiting in the distance for the opportunity to approach him and try to get their claws in him. Little did they know, Archer was NOT interested in RELATIONSHIPS. He was a wham bam thank you kind of guy. While at the wedding Gage, Matt and Archer are discussing the pros and cons of relationships. Archer and Gage don't see any cons of being in a relationship. Matt on the other hand, is an optimistic. He claims he just hasn't come across the right woman to settle down with. Archer and Gage have no plans on settling down as they enjoy playing the field too much.
As the men continue their conversation, Matt calls Archer's bluff and proceeds to tell him that he will be the first to fall in love with a woman and beg her to marry him. Archer thinks Matt has lost his mind. Gage knows that he doesn't plan on falling in love anytime soon, so he throws out the idea of a little bet amongst the men to make things a "little" more interesting. There is a little wager made amongst the men; the winner being the last single man standing. The winner will receive a nice hefty sum of money.
Archer has never been a man that was interested in relationships. It has been drilled into Archer Bancroft's head that control is EVERYTHING!
"Control is everything - and that is the one thing I've learned from my bastard of a father. You gain nothing by letting yourself go, by revealing your emotions, by becoming vulnerable." ~ Archer Bancroft
Archer and Gage have been best friends since they were teenagers. Archer and Gage grew up next door to each other. Growing up they were always together. Ivy, Gage's younger sister was always around the two as well. Archer and Ivy have always bickered like they were brother and sister. Archer looked at Ivy like a younger sister, until Ivy began to mature and develop into a sexy beautiful woman. Archer couldn't manage to keep his eyes off of her whenever she was around. He knew he could never act on his feelings on Ivy, Gage would never allow it. So instead, Archer continued to taunt Ivy like he always had, thereby, keeping her at a safe distance.
Throughout the years, Archer knew that there was one person that he could see a future with. One person that he wanted a relationship with. One person that understood him, accepted for him for who he was. One person that he has always had feelings for, however this person was OFF LIMITS. That special person was Ivy. Archer knew that Gage would never allow him to date his sister. Gage knew that Archer was a player, a womanizer and he would not stand by and watch his sister get her heart shattered by Archer. Archer knew that Ivy deserved to be treated like a queen. Could Archer be the one to treat her that way? Was Archer capable of loving Ivy the way she deserved to be loved? Could Ivy change Archer's views on relationships?
While at the wedding, Archer approaches Ivy and asks her to dance with him. The sexual tension is evident between the two and the sparks are flying. You can tell that they are both attracted to each other, yet neither one of them are willing to admit that they have feelings for each other. Things get a little hot on the terrace between Archer and Ivy, only to be interrupted by Gage. Archer immediately pulls away from Ivy, leaving her feeling rejected. Why couldn't Archer just tell Gage that he had feelings for Ivy?
Ivy seems to have a bad track record when it comes to boyfriends. She is the girl that always finds a man that seems to need fixing. Archer Bancroft falls into this category perfectly. The only difference is, Archer doesn't think he needs fixing. For Ivy to even consider a relationship with a guy, there has to be a spark, chemistry, unexpected kisses, wandering hands, to be touched, sweet caresses, etc...
"I've had a string of bad luck with men my entire dating life. I pick the wrong, my mom has told me more than once. She describes me as a fixer. I take the broken guys and try to put them back together again. "Humpty Dumpty Syndrome" is what she calls it. ~ Ivy Emerson
When Ivy is around Archer, she feels a spark, she feels the chemistry between them. Ivy and Archer have a love/hate relationship. Ivy doesn't know if she wants a relationship with Archer, but she knows that she wants to have mind blowing sex with him. She can only imagine what it would feel like to lay beneath his sexy, muscled body while he makes love to her. Just the thought has her panties soaked.
After having mind blowing sex, neither Archer or Ivy want to admit their feelings to each other and they both act like "it didn't matter". However that couldn't be further from the truth. Both of them are waiting for the other to express their true feelings, neither one of them wanting to be the one to lay their feelings on the line, for fear of rejection.
Archer can not get Ivy out of his head, he can't forget her smell or the way she kissed him. He is completely consumed by Ivy. Archer has a proposition for Ivy. One that he thinks she wont be able to resist. Archer wants to spend more time with Ivy and this is the only way he thinks he can. He NEEDS Ivy! He CRAVES Ivy.
After working with Archer, she knows she is in love with him. The only question is, does Archer feel the same way? Does Archer love Ivy? Have Ivy changed Archer? Will Gage accept a relationship between his best friend and his baby sister? Does Archer need Gage's approval?
After hearing what Ivy thought were the 3 best words she would ever hear come from Archer's mouth, in a matter of a few hours, she over hears, Archer deny his feelings for her to Matt. Ivy hears the worst words she would ever hear, "She's just Ivy, remember. She doesn't count." Ivy is crushed, her heart shattered into a million pieces. Why would Archer down play his feelings for Ivy to Matt? Was the bet more important to him than Ivy? Why didn't Archer ever tell Ivy about the juvenile bet? Ivy knew how immature Gage, Matt and Archer could be.
I really enjoyed this book. My only complaint is, I wish it were a little longer. I wanted more. I wanted to see more of the relationship develop between Archer and Ivy. At times, I felt like it was rushed. Grant it, Archer only had two weeks with Ivy, so the story was going to move a little fast.
This is one of my favorite songs and after you listen to the words, you will know why I love it. I can so picture Archer and Ivy making love to this song playing in the background..
Damn, could I feel any cheaper?
I’m skulking down the hall of my very own home, shirtless and shoeless, my clothes and shoes clutched in my hand, my pants unbuttoned, for the love of God, and ready to fall from my hips. My footsteps are light as I’m literally sprinting across my house. If Gage came out at this very moment, he would take one look at me and know exactly what I’d just done.
His baby sister.
Grimacing, I shake my head and head toward my bedroom suite, which is on the other side of the house. I’m breathing a little easier now that I’m out of the guest wing, but I could still get caught. That I’m even thinking like this makes me feel like an absolute jackass.
This is my house. I’m twenty-fucking-eight years old. I shouldn’t have to sneak around like some sort of teenager out screwing around with my secret girlfriend.
But here I am. Sneaking.
I’m still shocked over how Ivy kicked me out of bed before the come dried on her skin; she was that ruthless about the entire encounter. Crude, I know, but true. I’d been ready to wax poetic and go on and on over how amazing that entire experience had been. Because as quick as I’d come—embarrassingly quick, I’ll admit, but damn I was overwhelmed with the fact that I was actually inside her—sex with Ivy had been mind blowing.
I wanted to tell her how much I wanted to do it again. Clutch her close and cuddle for Christ’s sake. I don’t fucking cuddle. I’m the one who kicks them out of my bed. I’m the one who says, Hey, it’s been real, but you need to get your pretty little ass out of here.
Always, I sleep alone. For once, I wanted to sleep with someone else. Really and truly sleep. Hold her close, feel her skin on mine, smell her. I can still smell her. Feel her. Taste her.
She gave me the boot instead.
Yeah. Bizarre. I feel like the tables have been turned on me completely. I don’t like it. Not one freaking bit.
But since I saw her earlier this evening at the wedding reception, she’s flipped me on my head. What’s up is down and all that other bullshit. I haven’t felt right since. It fucking sucks. I have a business to run, employees to take care of, the potential to open another Hush location on the horizon and a volatile father to handle.
The last thing I need is some woman twisting up my insides.
I stride inside my bedroom, slamming the door behind me and head toward the bathroom. I need a shower. Maybe if I wash away the memory, the feel of her skin on mine, her scent, her taste, then I could forget her. Ivy.
Doesn’t help. As I stand under the scalding hot water battering my body and scrub at my skin, I can still smell her. Hear her panting, frantic breaths, the way she said my name just before she came. Smell her flowery, delicious skin, taste her greedy lips and tongue . . .
Fuck. I glance down, the water beating a rapid tattoo on the top of my head, and see my erection. Fucking stupid thing. No wonder women loved to go on and on about how men only think with their dicks.
They’re pretty dead on in that observation.
Restraining myself, I refuse to jerk off. I just came not fifteen minutes ago, you’d think I’d be over this. Over her.
Apparently not. Having her once wasn’t enough. I want Ivy again.
I furiously wrench the faucet off and grab a towel, rubbing it haphazardly across my skin, not really drying it. The soft terry cloth slides across my erection and I grimace. Pissed that I’m teasing myself.
What the hell is wrong with me?
Ivy Emerson is what’s wrong with you, jackass. She’s played you at your game and actually came out on top. Where does that leave you?
Miserable. Pissed. Eager to go back to her room and have my way with her again . . . slower this time. So I can linger over her body, see what she likes, where she prefers to be touched, taste her between her legs and see how long it takes to make her come with just my tongue . . .
Rubbing the heels of my hands against my eyes, I blink them open, stare at my reflection in the steam-covered mirror in front of me. I’m a wreck. Eyes wild, skin still wet from the shower, mouth and jaw so tight I look like I might shatter. Rigid and tense.
All over a woman.
I let loose a loud, growling “Fuck!” and hit the lights off, stride back into my room. Climb into bed naked and still damp, yanking the covers over my head in the hopes I can shut off my whirling brain.
Doesn’t work. I want her with me. Snug against me. I need to come clean with myself. I’ve lusted over her for years. Since her high school graduation, like some sort of pervert, considering I have a solid four years on her and the last thing I should’ve been doing was wondering if she could possibly be naked beneath her ceremony gown.
Of course, she wasn’t. She’d been eighteen and pure and beautiful. She’d given me a hug and thanked me for coming and all I could think about was how much I wish I was coming. Inside of her . . .
Yeah. I had it bad for her then. I still do. And I shouldn’t. I’m not the relationship type. My parents warped me for good. Ruined me for any woman. I might be able to hold my shit together for a while, but she’d wear me down eventually and discover the real me.
Monica Murphy Bio:
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Monica Murphy is a native Californian who lives in the foothills below Yosemite. A wife and mother of three, she writes New Adult and contemporary romance for Bantam and Avon. She is the author of One Week Girlfriend and Second Chance Boyfriend.
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