Giving It Up

Amber Lin
Giving It Up
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Loose Id
Release Date
June 2012
BDSM, Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense/Mystery

Allie prowls the club for a man who will use her hard and then ditch her. Hey, it's not rape if she wants it. Instead she finds Colin, who looks tough but treats her tenderly, despite her protests.

He tempts her, but kindness and a few mindblowing orgasms aren't enough to put her back together again. Allie has no hope for a real relationship. Two years ago her best friend betrayed her in the worst possible way – she'd be stupid to trust a man again. Besides, she has her daughter to think of, the only good thing to have come from that dark night.

But when her rapist returns, threatening her sanity and custody of her daughter, Allie turns to Colin. Under his protection and patient touch, Allie begins to heal and learns to hope. Colin's no saint, though, and his criminal past draws danger of its own. Allie must fight to protect her child and the man she loves, hoping her newfound power will be enough to save them all.

Book Review by Rho (reviewer)
Jul 19, 2012   [ OFFICIAL REVIEW ]
249 people found the following review helpful
Amber Lin's debut novel, GIVING IT UP is intensely sensuous, wrought with emotion, and so well written that I absolutely could not put it down!

This story is about Allie, a single mom with more baggage than an airport, who meets up with bad boy Colin one night when she's out prowling for her next one nightstand. The two have sex but she's not expecting the tenderness from him. She tries to stay away from him; however, Colin isn't willing to give Allie up without a fight because he recognizes their connection from their first night together.

When Allie's tragic past catches up with her, she runs right into the arms of Colin. As they try to make a relationship work, they find that their personal "issues" aren't the only thing working against them. But Allie finds that she's stronger than she knew and she has to use all of that strength in order to hang on to the happiness she's finally realizes she deserves.

Let me start out by saying right now, GIVING IT UP is not your average erotic romance. This story has some really heavy themes. Allie is pretty messed up and finding out her story as well as watching some of the situations she puts herself in can be very difficult to read. But I think that's one of things that intrigued me the most about the story. I really couldn't begin to guess how the characters would respond or where exactly the story was going. I just had to come along for the ride...and what a ride it was!

Colin was quite the conundrum. He was very secretive and deceptive at times, and I wasn't sure if I could like his character. Ultimately though, he won me over, much in the way he did Allie, by showing what he had underneath that hard exterior. The tenderness he showed both Allie and her daughter couldn't be faked and it made him quite irresistible.

This story was well very well written. The plot was suspenseful and intricate, the secondary characters were interesting and engaging in their own right. From the moment I sat down to start reading this, I was ensnared, and I continued to be right until the very last word.

GIVING IT UP is definitely a five star read for me. I am amazed that it's Amber Lin's first published work. She's definitely an author I'll be on the look out for in the future. If what lies ahead for this author is anything like GIVING IT UP, she's certainly going to make a name for herself in erotic romance.
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BOOK INTERVIEW on August 2012
Interview by Rho

Hi Amber, we're glad to have you here at The Romance Reviews. Now, let's talk about your book.

Q: Where did you get the idea for GIVING IT UP?

I love to read—romance, of course. One thing I noticed was a heavy emphasis on virgins or female chastity. I saw author Cecilia Grant describe it as the fetishization of female innocence. This makes sense in the context of a historical where the times were different, but I saw it in contemporary books, even erotica. So the idea formed to write a story about a woman who does the exact opposite. The opening scene came to me first: a woman is at a night club, looking for a man to give her a night of rough, anonymous sex.

Q: GIVING IT UP is not your average romance. There's quite a bit of heavy subject matter in there. What was your motivation behind being somewhat unconventional in that respect?

The next thing I needed was a motivation for the heroine Allie to be at the club. There are many different reasons a woman might do this, but I have always been drawn to darker books. Plus Allie's insistence on a one-night stand, the way she looked for a man who'd be cruel—it was more about bravado than sexual arousal. So her backstory became that she was hurt, sexually, when she was younger. And the man who hurt her was actually her best friend, so she's learned not to trust… well, anyone.

Q: Colin was such a difficult character for me to read, there was just so much more depth to him than what is originally seen. Please give us more insight to his character that will help us get to know him better.

Colin definitely has a white-knight complex. Whereas Allie has a past marred by physical pain and violence, in some respects Colin's childhood was the opposite. His parents were abusive, but it was his older siblings that bore most of the physical effects. Though he understood, in a child's way, that something was wrong, he was too young to help them. His guilt became more acute when he was taken in by family—an aunt who rejected his brother and sister and forced them into foster homes.

He's always wanted a nice, stable family home but he doesn't know how to find that. When he looks at Allie, he sees past the sluttish exterior to the pain underneath. And then when he sees her with her daughter, caring and protective, he finds what he's always wanted—a family.

Q: Allie and Colin seemed to have so much against them being a couple, but they actually just seem to fit. What is it about them that makes them such a good couple?

I love to hear that! That is one of my favorite things about a romance, learning the ways that the hero and heroine are perfect for each other… even if they can't see it at the time. On the surface, they fit because Colin has a burning need to save someone and Allie sure needs a savior. However that's only the beginning, but as they live together and learn to know one another, it goes deeper.

Though Colin has struggled to take care of the people around him, no one has really taken such close care of him, which is something Allie does by looking after his needs and comfort. He has a difficult time expressing himself, but Allie is able to read and trust his actions. Conversely Allie probably wouldn't have been able to trust a man with flowery words, but she watches Colin very carefully and sees the care and sweetness in what he does.

Q: I think I went gaga over Colin when he was eating pancakes with Allie's daughter, Bailey. When he said that the toddler wanted to switch their pancakes, I was a goner. It definitely ranks up there as my favorite scene in the book. Please share with us an excerpt of your favorite scene and tell us why it's your favorite.

Aww, that's a sweet scene :)

Hmm, my favorite scene… I love the opening because it's where I got to meet Allie and Colin, along with the readers, and I love the ending, because I felt so full of hope as I wrote it.

However, my favorite is probably a much darker one. Colin has always resisted treating Allie roughly because that's not his inclination and because he feels she doesn't really want it, even though she says she does. There is an emotional point where she finally convinces him to try, and … well, I won't give away what happens. Suffice it to say, I had to type through my own tears. I felt like that moment encapsulated the crux of Allie's pain, but that even as they broke apart, they were also indelibly linked.

Q: The characters in GIVING IT UP are so interesting and flawed. Which character do you most identify with? Why is that?

Thanks! Definitely Allie and Colin were most on my mind as I wrote their story. However I definitely have a sweet spot for Shelly and Philip. They just made feel happy whenever I wrote them in a scene, especially Shelly. She's Allie's best friend, and she also happens to be a high class escort. She's also a giver… to an extreme. It's actually a less-than-healthy coping mechanism she has for dealing with the pain of her own life. There's sort of a stereotype out there in books, the prostitute with a heart of gold, so I appreciated taking that and sort of warping it into something real.

Q: What type of research went into creating Allie and Colin's world?

As it's a contemporary erotic romance, I was off the hook for extensive research. However, I did set GIVING IT UP in Chicago, and spent some time looking into the geography there. I found Allie's apartment on craigslist, and a nice little bungalow on a real estate site as a setting for Colin's house. I toured the Chicago Zoo's website in preparation for writing their trip there. I've also been there a couple times and one of my critique partners lives there currently, so it all came together.

Aside from setting, I also consulted a psychologist about Allie's reactions to her past traumatic experiences.

Q: Who are your biggest writing influences and why?

I draw the most inspiration when I see an author blend serious, sometimes painful topics with romance. I think the first time I remember noticing this was Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. It's not considered a romance, I suppose, but it has one. I loved watching these very smart characters succumb to their lust. And it wasn't a side note of the story, but integral to it. More contemporary writers would be Anne Rice, Megan Hart and Cara McKenna. I also love to draw inspiration from historicals, to take something that worked there and make it fresh in a contemporary setting. Laura Kinsale is a completely brilliant writer, and I could probably read each one of her books a hundred times and find something new to admire every time.

Q: I truly didn't want GIVING IT UP to end while I was reading, and I was thinking about a secondary character that may have some more of a story to tell. So, what are your plans for the other characters in GIVING IT UP?

Oh, I'm so glad to hear it! I'm currently working on Shelly's book, because she was such a strong presence for me and I felt she deserved a happy ending of her own. I also hope to round out the series with a third book, which I also have in mind. I've had some requests for Rose's story, so we'll see if I can squeeze in a novella for her at some point.

Q: Looking at your website, you have the tagline "Broken Love Stories". What does that mean to you?

Genre is a tricky beast for me. I write erotic romance, but because of the way I broach heavy subjects, GIVING IT UP is sometimes not what people expect by that term. I don't really strive to write hot sex—more like interesting sex—and I am much more focused on writing a compelling story than I am in following romance conventions. However, at the heart of GIVING IT UP is a love story. These two people are broken, at least by a lot of standards, but they find solace and trust in each other. It's dark and gritty and not always pure, but it's love.

Q: GIVING IT UP is such an awesome read that I can't believe it's your debut novel! Please share with us what is up next for you.

Thank you! It's definitely the book of my heart, as the saying goes, so I am thrilled at the response it has received. I am working on the sequel to GIVING IT UP right now and hope to have a three-book series, with the potential for a novella in the same world. On another front, I'm also working on writing a historical romance, which would most likely be published under another name.

Thank you, Amber, for giving us these insights into GIVING IT UP.


Amber married her high school sweetheart, birthed a kid who's smarter than she is, and spends her nights writing down her dirty thoughts. In other words, life is good. Come say hi back on twitter, through goodreads, or by email.



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