Book Spotlights: The Unexpected Series Box Set and Deck(er) the Halls by Claudia Burgoa

The Unexpected Series Boxed Set
Unlike Any Other
Unsurprisingly Complicated
by Claudia Burgoa
Date Released: November 11, 2016

About The Unexpected Series Boxed Set
Family is messy.

Love is messier.

Life is the beauty beneath the mess. 

The Colhurst-Decker family is loving, close-knit, and completely dysfunctional. Behind the lies, the deceit, and the unforgivable betrayals, the Deckers fight for the one thing that matters most in life—love. But even in a battle for love, nobody is safe.

In this five-book series, explore the lives, lies, and loves of each member of the Decker family as they learn the hardest lessons in life: Nothing is guaranteed; everything is unexpected.

Read my five-starred review of The Unexpected Series Boxed Set.

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An Excerpt from The Unexpected Series Boxed Set
I should be in Seattle finalizing all the details for my trip to Argentina and then Costa Rica. Instead, I’m sitting next to my friend Ainsley Janine—better known as Nine—while listening to her future plans. She was back home from her therapy, and I came only because my gut told me I might not see her for a few years. However, before I could say something, my stomach twisted with the sight of her dry tears. There was no way I could leave without knowing what the hell happened to her. Porter, her asshole ex-boyfriend, had struck again. 

“I want to learn how to live, do all that I couldn’t because I lived under his magic spell.” Ainse brushes away the curls lingering around her face as she talks about the asshole she dated since the age of sixteen. “That's what you get when you live an enclosed life.” She gestures to the house where was raised and lived hidden from the outside world. While growing up, I thought it was cool that she had such a big home, but weird that she barely went outside the walls of the compound.

Ainse is the daughter of two celebrities who liked to keep their lives private. Being famous makes a person fair game for the media. A famous marriage is like honey for the bees, except her parents aren’t only famous— they’re also two men. Same-sex couples were frowned upon back in the eighties when they got together. Adding the fact that they had three biological children would’ve been a parade. Christian Decker and Gabe Colt worked hard to make sure their children didn’t become part of the media circus, but there were still side effects. The isolation affected their children, Ainsley the most. Aisne is better now; she’s working on her shit. She’s getting her life on track, fixing her issues with her parents, and moving on from her abusive, shithead boyfriend.

“Dates, nightclubs, bars, movie theaters.” She tells me all about the things she never did and plans to do. “The venues I only visited backstage. I want to concentrate on being me.”

I don’t want her to go to bars, dates, or nightclubs. Well, she can go with me, but not on a date—as friends.

“If one day a great guy comes along and offers that thing I want, I won’t shut him down because of my past,” Ainsley finishes, after explaining why she spoke to her scumbag ex-boyfriend on the phone when she should avoid him—forever. 

“That’s a mouth full.” I can’t think of anything else to say after she drops the bomb: she’s thinking about falling in love—again. How could she think about the next time when one fucking asshole cheated and emotionally abused her? That was plenty of evidence that should teach her to never again let her heart lead.

Love: A sentiment that is unreal and usually leaves someone bleeding. Never happened to me; I won’t let it. “What’s that thing you want from your mysterious guy?” That’s better than telling her she’s fucking insane and that next time someone breaks her heart, I might not be around to pick up the pieces. But I can promise one thing: if it happens, I’ll beat the shit out of the guy for hurting her. Just like I did with her ex. No one hurts Nine.

“A love story, his and mine. Ordinary, and yet extraordinary.” The shine in her bright eyes fill with hope and blind me. “One, unlike any other. You know how they say there're no two fingerprints alike in the world? Like that.”

Deck(er) the Halls
(Unexpected #5.5)
by Claudia Burgoa
Date Released: December 1, 2016

About Deck(er) the Halls
Holidays are always filled with new surprises...

Sex, drugs, and rock & roll were the staples of Chris Decker's life. But that was years ago, before reality stepped in and he began his life with his soulmate.

Now, with a total of fifteen grandchildren and a house full of love, memories, and a whole lot of crazy, they are literally one big, happy family. And with the Deckers, they always expect the unexpected--especially around the holidays. 'Tis the season to be merry, but the new addition that comes this December might not be ready to kick off the New Year as a Decker.

Note: All proceeds from Deck(er) the Halls will go to Toys for Tots.

Read my five-plus-starred review of Deck(er) the Halls.

Learn more about Toys for Tots.

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An Excerpt from Deck(er) the Halls
"She said it again." Ethan hands me a joint. 

Don't do it, Tucker. My conscience sounds like a busted record player. I know better, the few minutes I get to forget my fucking life are replaced by a headache and a fuck load of trouble. Here I go again, slipping into what my mother says I'll become, an addict. Just like my birth parents; it's in my blood.

"What’d the bitch say?" I ask after taking a hit and passing it back. And I laugh, because we've been inseparable since kindergarten. We were poster children for suburban living, until he was kicked off the football team and my parents got divorced. Now, when we see each other, we complain about our fucked-up lives while getting drunk and high. "Let me guess … ‘I hate you’."

"I should have aborted you when I had the chance," he mumbles and laughs with me. 

But then I start crying when I think that's what my birth mother would've loved to do that. Now the people she gave me to don't want me anymore. The novelty of having a child wore off. I was just another shiny object or status symbol to use and lose I guess. Still, I try doing everything they want to earn their love. Nothing I do is enough. Mom checks my arms for needle marks every time I come home. And Dad would rather skip the weekends he gets to have me with him. Don't get me started with my stepmother who is a combination of cruel and creepy. 

"I wish I hadn't picked you," I counteract Ethan's statement with one Mom yelled earlier. "It's like if she was throwing darts at me and waiting to see which one strikes me in the chest."

"We should run away before she kills me," he decides, like he's talking about the next test that he knows he needs to study for, but maybe he won't.

About Claudia Burgoa
Born on the mystical day of October 30th in the not so mystical lands of Mexico City, Claudia grew up with a childhood that resembled a caffeine-injected soap opera. Seventeen years ago she ventured to the lands of her techie husband—a.k.a. the U.S.—with their offspring to start a new adventure.

She now lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, said nerd husband, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.

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