YAHOO GROUP APPRECIATION EVENT DAY 14 ~ MACKENZIE MCKADE
Today's feature author is the fabulous Mackenzie McKade from the Wicked Writers Blog/Yahoo Group. She just released a book on 7/27/11 called "Male Android Companion" This is a Sci Fi/Futuristic book. Scroll down for the blurb , an excerpt, and my thoughts on the book.
Hollywood, California 2095. Gia Easton has had it. After catching her ex-boyfriend-agent with her best friend, the beautiful actress is through with men, but not sex and especially not now. Her family is expecting to meet her latest squeeze and won’t take no for an answer. That’s why she’s standing before the new and improved line of Male Android Companions (M.A.C.). The Institute of Robotics promises the androids are as good as the real thing without the hassle or heartbreak.
The starlet has just mistaken Marc Anthony Charleston, M.A.C.’s creator, as one of his humanoids. When she selects him to take home he’s in no hurry to correct her misunderstanding. Besides she’s getting more bang for her buck and so is he
Sitting in a black unmarked limousine as it sped toward her house, Gia stared at her new purchase. He sat quietly across from her. When their eyes met he flashed her a roughish grin.
What on earth was she thinking—an android? What had ever moved her to do such a thing?
She wasn't impulsive. Then again maybe she just needed someone tonight, someone who would hold her without judgment or ridicule. Thick emotion rolled through her like a big tidal wave. Tears built, but she'd be damned if she'd let them fall.
The headline she was thinking of earlier popped back into her head. Dumped starlet turns to hot male robot for affection. Broken laughter spilled from her mouth. The handsome android raised one brow in question but didn't make a sound.
No questions. No trying to fix the problem at hand, which always seemed to be what a man attempted to do, when all a woman wanted was to express herself. She let her gaze roam over him once more. Yes. There were some definite pros to consider. No more watching how much she ate with her new M.A.C. No playing coy or shy. This arrangement could be perfect—she had nothing to lose and there was no holding back. Her deepest, darkest fantasies were at her fingertips.
Then there were the cons.
Even though on the surface he was the effigy of a man, and a gorgeous one at that, this hoax would never work with her family. How would he hold a conversation about current politics with her dad or sports with one of her brothers? Surely, her mother or younger sister Becka would see through the lie. Her mother, the newly announced president of their family-owned banks since Gia's grandfather had retired, was used to seeing through lies. Of course Gia couldn't even think about taking Marc to Oregon with her.
And then there was the media.
A sudden gust of air-conditioning feathered through Marc's wavy black hair, which was short on the sides, longer on top. Clean-cut. All-American. The Institute of Robotics knew what they were doing when they packaged this model. His shoulders were wide, his chest thick and muscular beneath the tight polo shirt he wore. Even his jeans caressed sinewy thighs and narrow hips. Brazenly, she allowed her gaze to stroke his impressive bulge, something she would never have done to a real man.
He shifted nervously on the leather seat across from her.
When she looked up at his handsome face, she recognized lust. Desire simmered like a flame in his emerald eyes, making them glimmer.
So real. Someone she would love to bring home to meet her family. He wasn't flashy with the mark of Hollywood tattooed across his forehead like Doug but real, solid, a man's man—a man a woman could trust. Trust. The thought pushed the air from her lungs in one fell swoop. Shoulders sagging, her control slipped. The moment she felt tears fill her eyes she looked away. Batting her eyelashes, she attempted to blink away the unwanted emotion.
Gia had to get past the heaviness in her chest. Doug wasn't worth another tear. She had bigger problems ahead of her. Like how to explain why Doug and Mary wouldn't be attending her parents' party. Then there was Aunt Clare, who made her feel as though she was the black sheep of the family because she wasn't married. And of course, Gia had never been able to hide anything from her mother, including a broken heart.
Gia's gaze went to the android once again. Fortunately, sunglasses hid her sorrow; then again, the robot before her wasn't human. What would he care if she broke down and bawled her eyes out? Because that's just what she needed, a good cry. She glanced at the driver before closing the window between the front and back seat, secluding her with Marc.
What a mess. A weighted sigh pushed between her lips as she wondered what the chance would be that none of her family members had heard about the escapade at the studio. Lost in the little pity party she entertained, she jumped when a warm hand lay upon hers.
"Are you all right?" Concern furrowed Marc's broad forehead as he leaned toward her.
Sniffling, she fought back the moisture beating behind her eyelids. "No. I'm not." A wayward tear rolled down her cheek.
It was silly, but she could really use her mother's shoulder right about now, and for Doug and Mary to go straight to hell. She pinched her lips together. Her chin quivered.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Talk?" Her eyes gaped with surprise, unleashing several more tears. Before she could wipe them away, he raised a hand and smoothed a finger across each cheek.
"Yes. Talk." The softness in his eyes appeared heartfelt, as if he actually cared, and that made it worse for Gia. "I'm a good listener."
Tomorrow she would face a barrage of people, interviews. Some who would feel sorry for her, others who would revel in her loss. Neither would give her any comfort. Dammit. She didn't want to cry, even in front of an android.
A pregnant pause ensued between them.
When he spoke her name, she inhaled sharply and then something inside her broke. On an exhale she began to ramble. "I've had one of the worst days of my life. Set delays. Wardrobe malfunctions." The strap of her negligee had fallen down her shoulder, the adhesive holding the material in place had given way and her boob had popped out, requiring a retake of the scene. Not to mention her embarrassment. She might wear skimpy, even risqué clothing, but never complete nudity. And it had all been caught on film. Thank God her parents would never see it, unless it spread across the internet, which was a possibility. Acid churned in her stomach.
This day was getting better with each second.
"Script problems," she continued. "Issues with actors. And to top it off," she released a shuddering breath, "I found my boyfriend fucking my best friend on my makeup table." She bit down on her lip to keep her emotions at bay. "Now the paparazzi know. It'll be plastered across every news media if it isn't already. My parents' anniversary is in a week. They were expecting me. Doug—" Gia tried to hold back the wall of sentiment but it was useless. The floodgates opened wide.
She was so entrenched in her pain, she didn't even realize that Marc had moved off his seat and sat beside her until his thigh touched hers.
Strong arms embrace her, holding her against a firm torso. "Sweetheart, don't cry."
For a moment she forgot who or rather what Marc was and locked her arms around his neck, clinging to him. "I-I hurt." Her voice broke in short gasping breaths. Her chest burned. She felt so alone, so betrayed. Not to mention homesick. The last five years had been hell being away from her family, and now this. She had no one to turn to or rely on. Her family loved her, but she couldn't admit to another bad choice in her life, not even to them.
God. She felt like a failure.
"I know, honey." Rocking her back and forth, he patted her softly on the back. "These things happen."
For the first time in quite a while, Gia buried her face into a man's shoulder and allowed herself to grieve aloud, something she had learned to shield from the public and her so-called Hollywood friends. Even her childhood friends back home had become distant since her success, except for the ones who wanted something from her, and who needed friends like that? It dawned on her that she was truly alone. Other than her family, she had no one, and pride kept her from reaching out to them. The emptiness crowding in on her was too much to bear.
"Shush, baby," Marc whispered, comforting her as if she were a child. "It'll be okay."
Gia wasn't a fool. It wouldn't be okay. If she moved home nothing would change. There would be no job waiting for her. No friends to welcome her back. Acting was her career and Hollywood was her home. Here her beauty was celebrated and opened doors for her instead of slamming them in her face.
When the car stopped at a light, she was still shaking from the outburst but her tears had lessened. When she swallowed, her throat felt raw and sore. She snuggled closer, not yet willing to release the warmth and support the arms around her provided.
"Do you love him?" Marc's black-velvet voice caressed her as if it were silk sliding across her flesh.
Sucking in a choppy breath, she looked up through misty eyes. Did she love Doug? Mary? Or had they been her only allies in a city where people were bought and sold and discarded in the blink of an eye? No one was who they pretended to be, including Doug. And there was that part of her that really wanted a relationship, someone to come home to, to share her dreams and aspirations with, and most importantly, someone who loved her. Not because she was famous, but because she was Regina Lynn Easton.
Gia was so tired and confused. For the last eighteen months, she had gone from one set to another without a break. Perhaps she needed a vacation, time away from the rat race and the life she had carved out for herself. She needed simplicity. She needed her family.
Pushing against Marc's muscled thigh, she sat up, shaking her head. "No. Not really." It would be a lie to say she didn't have feelings for Doug, but love? No. "I feel more betrayed then anything. I trusted him." And Mary. Gia sniffled and accepted the bar napkin Marc handed her. "Mary was my best friend. And then there's the press." Dabbing at her nose, she dragged in a ragged breath. "They'll have a field day with this mess." She paused, but only briefly. "I guess I'm angrier that the two individuals I cared for the most in Hollywood used and betrayed me." Irony filled her short burst of laughter. "Of course, the fact that I was dumped for my assistant doesn't sit well with me either."
There, she said it. Her pride had taken a blow and the world would know it, as well as her family. The embarrassment wasn't something she cared to face any time soon. No. Scratch that. The embarrassment wasn't something she ever wanted to face.
With a single finger, Marc pushed back a tendril that had escaped her cap. "I can assure you your agent had no plans on dumping you."
Agent? She hadn't mentioned Doug was her agent. How would an android be privy to that kind of information?
"Uh. How did you know—"
"You have to remember he's a man and most of us don't think past the brain between our thighs." He gave her a sheepish grin that she found so charming it erased the lingering question in her mind.
Instead, she reached up and ran a palm over his smooth cheek. "You act and feel so real." And smell good too. Like warm spice on a cold morning, his scent played havoc with her senses. Perhaps the M.A.C. Company added chemicals or man-engineered pheromones to the android's cologne in order to attract women. It was sure doing crazy things to her. Her breasts felt heavier and she couldn't help taking in his aroma again.
I'm distraught, she rationalized. Nothing more.
A smile crinkled the corners of his green eyes. "I'm about as real as you can get." His chuckle held mild amusement.
"I don't even know where to begin with you," she admitted unashamedly. He was an android and a damn good-looking one at that, but he wasn't real. She looked away, staring out the window. Skyscrapers reached heavenward, the sky a mass of transit filled with small spacecraft and trans-airliners moving in streaks of color toward their destinations, while other motorized vehicles and hovercrafts moved steadily below.
Would there ever be a man who would love her for who she was inside and not what she was? Insecurity crept in on silent feet, skittering across her skin.
Marc smoothed a palm up her arm. "Perhaps we need to get to know each other better."
"What?" As she turned her head, he leaned in and brushed his mouth lightly across hers.
Startled, she wet her lips, tasting him and the flavor of spearmint. Not bad. Not bad at all. He felt so real beneath the hand she rested on his bare forearm. Muscles rippled beneath his suntanned skin.
"First we'll start by taking these off." Removing her sunglasses, his gaze locked on to hers. Something electrifying zinged between them—desire? She witnessed his slight flinch and he swallowed hard.
Did he feel the charge too?
Robot, hummed in her mind. But before Gia could analyze her reaction to the android, he drew closer, so near that their noses softly skimmed each other. Her heart beat a rapid staccato.
He caressed his palms down her arms to her rib cage, settling them at her waist. "You see, if you were my woman," he angled his head, sliding his lips once more across hers, "I'd never let you out of my sight." His pupils darkened to a deeper shade of green. A small, humorless smile curved his mouth. His grin and the dimple—in his right cheek only—were so sexy the air in her lungs caught. "You'd be mine forever." The conviction in his voice sent a shiver up her spine. "I'd love you like a woman should be loved."
Wings of arousal softly stroked her belly and then clenched, sending the sensation lower. She felt herself grow damp and her eyes widened with surprise. Did it matter that he wasn't real? At this point any man would do to vanquish thoughts of Doug and Mary's betrayal.
Gia cleared her throat, willing the flush of heat surely reddening her cheeks to disappear. "What would you know about love or what a woman really wants or doesn't?" She attributed her reaction to the android to the turmoil of feelings raging inside her, not to the fact she was attracted to him, which was, of course, ludicrous.
Sure, the android might have been programmed to locate a woman's erogenous zones and how to insert tab A into slot B, but he couldn't possibly possess the knowledge or the depth of emotion, the loving responses a woman wanted, no needed, in order to feel satisfied, fulfilled.
Then again, he did hold her tenderly when she had her outburst.
That sensual grin that made her go mushy inside curved his mouth. Sinful. Gia could see how another woman might be swayed by his good looks, but she was intelligent, something that most males overlooked in her. They always seemed to start at her face and stop at her breasts.
"You might be surprised." His knuckles glided along her jaw to her chin. "Women are not looking for a man who is too nice. You want someone you can trust but that will also provide you with mystery, adventure and maybe even danger." Their eyes met and she swore he could see her, the real her. "You need someone who can take you outside your comfort zone, teach you new ways to love a man. You want the erotic without the judgment."
"Not even," she huffed, lying to him as well as herself. How on earth could he know that there was a darker side to her, one that she had never admitted to anyone? This was bordering on ridiculous and a little scary.
His fingers smoothed down her throat, leaving gooseflesh in their wake. Gia inhaled and slowly released the air in her lungs as she attempted to control the burn that simmered through her veins.
Android whispered in her mind.
I was very pleasantly surprised by this book. It was fun, romantic, and HOT!!!
Normally I would summarize the book but since the excerpt above does that for me I will just jump right into my review.
Both the characters in this book are very well developed and three dimensional. Marc is one sexy man. He is a man that every women would want. Sensitive, caring, compassionate, intelligent, strong, sometimes dominate and very alpha. He understands a women's needs and a women's body. However, women have a hard time getting past the "geeky scientist" image of him so when he meets Gia, a very talented actress, he thinks she is way to good for him.
Gia is talented, intelligent, strong, and beautiful, not to forget famous. She is looking for a man who she can share a life with but she is contantly betrayed by the people she trusts.
When Gia and Marc meet, under unusual circumstances, they share an instant attraction for one another. As their relationship progresses you can feel the sexual heat and chemistry. The emotion is unbelievable throughout the whole book and had be tearing up at the end. I love the fact that aside from the obvious they are honest with each other from the beginning. The sex is unbelievably hot and erotic. You seriously will be fanning yourself after this one.
The story line is intriguing and it grabs you from the beginning and doesn't let go until the last page. This book is labeled futuristic/sci fi but does not feel like it at all. I don't normally read this genre of romance but I thought I would try it and am happy I did. The only thing that stood out at futuristic is this book was the technology and some of the language.
I would definitely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fantastic read!!!
An amazing 5 drinks for this one
Mackenzie McKade is generously offering one random commenter an ecopy of this book. All you have to do is follow this blog and leave a comment below to be entered. Please leave your email addy and tell me what format you prefer. I will choose a winner on 9/16/11 and post here.
Thanks for stopping by and be sure to come back tomorrow for Shiloh Walker.