by Mia Hopkins
Kings of California #1
Publication Date: November 20, 2015
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Sex, drugs, and spicy tuna rolls?
Resilient and disciplined, tsunami survivor Eve Ono moves to California from Japan looking for a position as a sushi chef. When she’s suddenly fired from her restaurant job, desperation drives her to find work on a fishing boat despite her fears of the ocean. To make matters worse, she’s stuck in close quarters with her new captain—a man whose raw physicality drives her out of her mind with lust.
Free-spirited and roguish, Sam Lamont is a commercial fisherman aboard his own dive boat, the Bravado. When he makes a bad deal with a deadly loan shark who threatens to take his boat, Sam is in danger of losing both his business and his way of life. On top of that, he’s got to train his new deckhand—a beautiful hard-ass who just so happens to be sexy as hell.
A female sushi chef with mad knife skills. A deep-sea diver who’s pissed off a Mexican drug cartel. Together, they’re in trouble, and the only way out is down.
*AUTHOR’S NOTE* While this book is a part of a series, it can be read completely as a standalone.
Using a tap on the dock, Sam filled a clean bucket with water. He grabbed his openers and shoved the pointed end of the tool into the keyhole opening on the underside of one of the urchins.
Sam’s hands were big and strong looking, with long fingers and neat, squared-off tips. The backs of his hands were rough and peppered with scars. His movements were deliberate and exacting―almost like a chef’s.
He split the shell, pulled the bright yellow roe, and dumped the spiny shells into the marina. After rinsing a lobe of delicate roe in the clear water, he held it up for her to taste.
Instead of taking the uni from his hand, Eve lowered her lips to his cold fingers and sucked it up.
For a split second, the rough edge of his thumb brushed against the tip of her tongue. At once, desire surged through her, pounding through her bloodstream like a drug. She almost didn’t notice that he was staring at her as she ate, heat flooding his eyes.
“Sweet,” she said quietly. “Firm.”
He shifted his stance. “I’ve heard that some Japanese people believe uni has aphrodisiac qualities.”
Instead of answering, Eve leaned forward and touched his arm where his tattoo peeked out from under the sleeve of his T-shirt.
“Lamont,” she said.
Sam took a step forward and rested his hands on her hips. He pulled her against him as he leaned back against the closed door of the wheelhouse. She ran her palms against his chest, solid as a rock wall through the thin cotton of his T-shirt.
She ran her fingers through his hair; soft and thick and wavy, it contrasted with the hard edges of his unshaven jaw, the cleft in his chin, and his cheekbones.
“I want you, Eve,” he whispered. She shivered when his hot, full lips found her neck, covering her skin with openmouthed kisses that burned like a brand.
Since I’m a huge fan of Mia Hopkins’s Cowboy Cocktail series, I was excited to dive into her Kings of California series as well. Deep Down brings the same heat, humor, and emotion that I’ve come to love from this author.
There’s a palpable sexual tension between Eve and Sam that’s just delicious. Eve is mostly inexperienced and apprehensive at first, but Sam helps her find confidence in her sexuality. In addition, Sam has a bossy side to him that introduces Eve to some mild kink. This book is hot, hot, hot.
Combined with the romantic elements are various emotional subplots. Eve is a tsunami survivor and struggles with traumatic memories and nightmares as a result. There’s also her tenuous relationship with her father. On Sam’s side, he’s estranged from his father and suffers from feelings of guilt associated with the death of his mother. In many ways, Eve and Sam are similarly broken when they meet. After they start to fall in love, that love begins to heal them both.
In Deep Down, Mia Hopkins has written an intensely moving story with an emotionally satisfying ending. As much as this book is about two broken people, it’s also about how love and family–both the kind you’re born into and the kind you make for yourself–have the power to heal you.
When I came up with this playlist, I imagined a busted-up radio playing on Sam’s old fishing boat as it bobbed up and down in the Pacific. I imagined Eve and her roommate Tiffani goofing around while pole dancing. Eve spent many years in Japan, so I’ve included a song she might like. I pictured Sam visiting his cowboy hometown in the Central Valley. Most of all, I remembered what it felt like to drive up the Pacific Coast Highway for the first time, windows down, my heart full of sea air and sunshine. Hope you enjoy the music! –Mia Hopkins
1. Going to California – Led Zeppelin
2. Breakdown – Jack Johnson
3. Love Come Down – Evelyn Champagne King
4. Spooky – Dusty Springfield
5. Blurry Eyes – L’Arc en Ciel
6. Diamonds on the Inside – Ben Harper
7. If You Want Me to Stay – Sly and the Family Stone
8. Mama Tried – Merle Haggard
9. Waiting in Vain – Bob Marley
10. You Can Get It If You Really Want – Desmond Dekker
11. Bam Bam – Sister Nancy
12. Pressure Drop – Toots & Maytals
13. The Harder They Come – Jimmy Cliff
14. Better Together – Jack Johnson
15. God Only Knows – The Beach Boys
About Mia Hopkins
Mia Hopkins writes lush romances starring fun, sexy characters who love to get down and dirty. She’s a sucker for working class heroes, brainy heroines and wisecracking best friends.
When she’s not lost in a story, Mia spends her time cooking, gardening, traveling, volunteering and looking for her keys. In a past life, she was a classroom teacher and still has a pretty good “teacher voice” and “teacher stare.”
She lives in the heart of Los Angeles with her roguish husband and two waggish dogs.
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