My Life in Shambles by Karina Halle
Release Date: April 11, 2019
My Life in Shambles, a full-length contemporary standalone romance by Karina Halle.
When Valerie Stephens made the resolution to say yes to new adventures, she never thought she’d end up in the tiny town of Shambles, fake engaged to one of Ireland’s top rugby players. But there’s a first time for everything.
They say bad things happen in threes.
After my boyfriend broke off our engagement, and I lost my apartment, and was laid off from my job, I can more than attest to that.
They also say life happens when you say yes to new adventures.
So when my two sisters invited me to ring in the new year in Ireland, I decided to throw all caution to the wind and go for it. I was going to let “saying yes” be my new resolution.
Little did I know I’d spend New Year’s Eve having a hot and dirty one-night stand with Padraig McCarthy, one hell of a sexy Irishman. I also didn’t know that the brooding and intense sex god was one of Ireland’s top rugby players.
A rugby player with a proposition for me:
Come with him to his tiny hometown of Shambles and pretend to be his fiancé for a few days, just so that his ailing father can have some peace of mind.
It sounded simple enough.
It was anything but.
Not when a town gets up in your business, not when the media hunts you down, not when your past comes back in the picture, not when there are real hearts and feelings at stake.
Not when there are secrets that could break you.
They say life is what happens when you say yes to new adventures.
This is my life in Shambles.
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Karina Halle just gave me all the feels in this book, and I loved it. My Life in Shambles is a beautiful, emotionally charged romance that I adored.
Valerie Stephens life is a hot mess right now. Not only did she just separate from her fiancé, therefore she also lost her wonderful NYC apartment, but she also got laid off from her job. Things are not going well for her. Her only saving grace is that her sisters are taking a trip to Ireland and she’s tagging along. The only rule she has for herself while she’s out of town is this: Always say yes to new adventures. Meeting Padraig McCarthy is just that. An adventure.
Padraig McCarthy is an Irish Rugby player who is on a break from the game due to a concussion. Between that, his father being ill, and other issues, his life is also a bit of a mess. When Valerie comes into his life, it’s the perfect timing. They are instantly attracted to one another, but it’s more than that. There is something else there.
Padraig needs a favor, something huge. He needs a fake fiancé. With his father gravely ill, he wants him to have the illusion that he has his life together and someone to share it with. Because of this new adventures thing, Val agrees to go and to stay as long as Padraig needs her. After meeting his family, she starts to get close to them as well. The build up had me so anxious. What was going to happen? Surely this secret will blow up eventually…. I was a nervous wreck.
There was so much more going on in Padraig’s life than what meets the eye. My heart hurt for this man so much. He was struggling through too much. I thought Valerie had the bigger issues at the start of the book, but her loss of a job/apartment/fiancé were nothing compared to what he had going on. But Valerie… Val was a godsend to him. She couldn’t have been more loving and patient with him if she tried. She was with Padraig 100% and grew to truly love him and you could just tell that love was unconditional. She was the true MVP of this book.
“You threw yourself into my darkness and you showed me the stars that I never knew were there. You were never afraid of what was in me, you wanted to see it all, you wanted to be there for me in every way that you could.”
This book had so much heart. You could just feel the emotion pouring off the pages. Karina’s writing is fantastic, as always. This story was different than her others, and I mean that in the best way possible. Both characters were exceptional. This one really touched my heart. I loved seeing these two fall in love and love each other through everything going on in their lives. I love the fake relationship troupe and this book did that so well. I highly recommend this gorgeous romance!
“Tell me you love me,” I whisper. “Tell me you love me and I’ll tell you I love you more.”
The rest of the evening starts to pass by in a bit of a blur.
The food comes, and suddenly I’ve never been so hungry in my life. I don’t even pull any of that dainty eating nonsense, you know the type you do on a first date with someone, all tiny nibbles and delicate wiping of the mouth with a napkin. No, I fill my damn mouth with food, dumplings and spicy meats and rice. I eat with abandon, like there’s no tomorrow.
Padraig does the same. It’s freeing. It’s funny. I keep making orgasm noises over it all and he keeps laughing, and we eat and eat, even feeding each other won tons at one point with shaky chopstick skills. Honestly, there’s never been anything sexier.
When we’re finally finished, we’re both full, more drunk than before, and a little greasy. I try to pay the bill but he insists (although I don’t even think they charged him for anything), and then as we leave the restaurant he grabs my hand.
I’m not a small-boned girl, but with his hand over mine, I feel like I’ve been reverted back to the hapless woman being led by an alpha caveman and I don’t mind one bit. The fact that his palm is warm in this snowy weather with the skin-to-skin contact sends consistent shivers down my back.
We stroll down the streets and I almost slip a few times, my bad balance combined with the snow making for a dicey situation. But each time Padraig grabs me and keeps me upright, and I have to admit, it’s kind of fun to be constantly falling into him. It’s like having a wall of bricks for support, if that wall of bricks was shaped like a rugby god.
I have no idea where we’re going. All I know is that it’s not even midnight yet.
He takes me to a bar and then a club, both of which are packed to the doors and have crazy long lines, both of which we bypass with ease because he’s Padraig McCarthy.
I’m not one for dancing and Padraig doesn’t strike me as the type either, but there’s something about the deep bass beats in this place, and the free-flowing champagne, courtesy of the club, that has us falling into a rhythm together.
At first we’re dancing apart but it’s not long before the inches between us close. The heat from his body and mine brews, and the electricity is flowing in sparks and jumps, moving to the erotic pulse of the music, mixed with the hope and hedonism of the crowd on this once-a-year night.
His hips bridge the gap, his strong palms running down the sides of my waist, my hips slowly swaying then grinding against him. I feel his erection burning through his jeans, the width and length taking my breath again, making me blush in such a way that I’m glad the lights are dim.
I’m both a young girl, naïve and inexperienced and shy as the very touch and proximity to him hurls me toward a sexual awakening, and at the same time I’m an old soul who has found her equal in another, whose body wants to know this stranger intimately, who isn’t scared at what’s transpiring, but is hungry instead.
Both of these sides are at war inside me, dancing around each other like a caduceus, until I’m dizzy with my feelings for him. This want, this yearning, this need for something new, something exciting and terrifying, it claws through me until I can’t ignore it anymore.
I glance up at Padraig and see only his eyes. Those deep, dark haunting eyes that glimmer with the pulsating lights and yet radiate with something as wanting and wicked as the feelings inside of me.
His hands go to the back of my neck and the small of my back. My chin tips up. The rest of the world fades away and I know when it comes back into focus, everything will be different.
Everything will change.
It takes a moment to change someone.
Sometimes it just takes a kiss.
Karina Halle is a former travel writer and music journalist and The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today Bestselling author of The Pact, Love, in English, The Artists Trilogy, Dirty Angels and over 20 other wild and romantic reads. She lives on an island off the coast of British Columbia with her husband and her rescue pup, where she drinks a lot of wine, hikes a lot of trails and devours a lot of books.
Halle is represented by the Root Literary and is both self-published and published by Simon & Schuster and Hachette in North America and in the UK.
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