Jagger Kennedy never went looking for fame, he just fell into it. After scoring a major modeling contract, his clean-cut good looks and charm catapulted his career. But when his actress girlfriend breaks his heart, he moves to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He needs to make a change, and the last thing he’s looking for is love…
Aerie Daniels is a woman in control … until she meets Jagger. Her surprising connection with him leaves her stunned, and it’s unlike anything she’s ever felt. But just when she lets her walls fall, she makes a startling discovery about him that breaks her fragile heart into a million pieces.
To keep from losing the one woman he can’t bear to be without, Jagger is willing to give up anything—including his career. But even that might not be enough to regain Aerie’s shattered trust…
Includes a preview of the next Connections series novel, Mended.
Praise for the Connections series
“I was riveted from the first line.” —New York Times bestselling author A.L. Jackson
“Incredibly emotional, romantic, sexy, and addictive.”—New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young
“Unpredictable, and downright hot.”—K.A. Tucker, author of Ten Tiny Breaths
Kim Karr lives in Florida with her husband and four kids. She’s always had a love for books and recently decided to embrace one of her biggest passions—writing. Her Connection series novels include Connected, Torn, and Mended.
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Music means a great deal to me so I spent many hours searching for songs that reflect the content of this book. I hope that listening to these songs before you read each chapter will enhance your experience. Please visit my website, www.authorkimkarr.com, for song links to Spotify.
Aloe Blacc—“Wake Me Up”
One Direction—“Story of My Life”
Drake—“Hold On, We’re Going Home”
Kevin Rudolf—“Here’s To Us”
Kelly Clarkson—“Dark Side”
The Fray—“Where the Story Ends”
All of my senses engage as I wait in line and stare through the clear glass—the fragrance in the air from the foil wrapped treats wafts under my nose, the beauty of the lines of shelves decorated with tiny dots and colored sprinkles mesmerizes me, and the anticipation of the taste makes my mouth water. Mmmm . . . just thinking of the first bite of bittersweet Belgian chocolate complementing the flavor of the Madagascar bourbon vanilla that oozes from its inside has me trembling. The black-and-white cupcake—it’s simply perfection.
Amidst the skyscrapers in Los Angeles’ South Park neighborhood, Sprinkles is a gem tucked away for those of us who seek out a small piece of heaven. I don’t come here often, but when I do it’s for that one special treat. The menu describes it as “Yin and Yang.” There’s an ancient proverb that simply put says complementary opposites give rise to the other, and it’s true—opposites attract. Without the vanilla inside, one would not crave the chocolate as much, but looking at the two parts united has me drooling.
“You know what they say about staring through the glass,” a deep husky voice says from behind me.
His words tingle across my skin and my gaze snaps up. “Excuse me?” I stop short, in a daze, not even sure exactly what he just said I was so lost in my thoughts.
He chuckles. “You know what they say about staring through the glass,” he repeats.
My eyes blink and come into focus on the upward tilt of his full lips. Then I notice his smooth pale skin flecked with a light stubble, his sculpted nose even with a slight imperfection in its slope, large eyes with the most unusual gray color swirling from within, and chocolate brown colored hair framing his face—I’m not sure if he has just rolled out of bed or if product molds it just so. Either way, he is utterly beautiful.
“I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Just be careful so you don’t fall in like Alice.” He smiles, displaying his bright white teeth.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.” I notice his eyes sweep over me and my heart starts pounding.
“Through the Looking Glass,” he responds in a dangerously husky voice.
This time when he speaks I catch a New York accent, ever so slight but extremely sexy. It reminds me of how Robert De Niro talks, just not as loud or fast. I continue to stare, unable to respond. I notice that his physique is long and lean. He’s dressed in worn jeans that fit him perfectly. His orange laced hiking boots scream “I don’t conform.” A pair of tortoiseshell sunglasses hang from the V of his gray sweater, which clings to his body perfectly. And an outdoor vest tops the outfit. It throws me off. It makes him look more like an Abercrombie model than a James Dean type. It’s navy blue down and quilted with a silver zipper. I don’t know why, but something about his outfit, about this man, captivates me.
“Number 98,” calls the girl from behind the counter.
He steps closer. His warm breath whispers across my neck. “Through the Looking Glass is the sequel to Alice in Wonderland. When Alice gets too close to the glass, she falls in and starts on a crazy journey,” he tells me as his arm waves in the air with a green ticket on display. Stepping closer, his gaze cuts from mine to the glass case as he hands his number to the clerk, who’s wearing a cute brown apron with the word Sprinkles scripted across it.
“Can I have a dozen of the black-and-white cupcakes?” he asks.
Suddenly alarmed, my eyes dart to the case as I watch the single remaining row of beautifully crafted cupcakes diminish until there are none left. My irritation flares as I glance at my number—97.
The beautiful stranger hands the clerk his credit card and waits to sign the slip.
“I was number 97, my number was before yours,” I announce as he’s handed the bag that holds his treasure.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Here let me get the sales clerk’s attention so you don’t have to take another number,” he says.
I want to stomp my feet. I want to scream. I don’t want her attention. I don’t want another number. I want the cupcakes that he stole from me.
“Miss,” he calls draping his perfectly fit body over the case. She looks his way and with a charming grin, he says, “Can you help this lovely lady? She missed her number being called.”
“Of course, I’m so sorry. How can I help you?” the girl asks, averting her eyes from the man who looks like he should be on the cover of GQ magazine, over to me.
He smiles at me with a face that belongs on a billboard. “Don’t fall in.”
I swear he’s goading me. But then he tips his chin and a sexy, smoldering grin passes over his lips and I’m not so sure anymore. He turns to look at me one more time before he exits, and excitement flushes over my face. I nod a slight cursory acknowledgement, then he disappears and disappointment washes over me—he’s gone. Crap. The cupcakes are also gone. Double crap. And now I’m left wondering if he saw me staring at that flavor? Did he distract me on purpose so he could purchase them first? Urrr . . . I’m so angry right now I consider walking out, but when the clerk asks me what I’d like I settle for the vanilla milk chocolate cakes—they are the mirror reflection of the black and whites, with vanilla cake and chocolate frosting, but they are not nearly as good.
As twilight approaches during my drive, the sky reminds me of his eyes—the stormy gray color. My Audi can’t accelerate fast enough for me to erase the image from my mind. I concentrate on moving through the traffic, changing lanes in an effort to think of anything else because the cupcake thief will not capture any more of my attention.
My phone rings and the sound jars me from my thoughts. I reach across the passenger seat and slip my hand into the front pouch of my purse where my BlackBerry can always be found. I check the display and smile. It’s my best friend, Dahlia London. Well, Dahlia Wilde now. She’s the girl who accepted me as her roommate in college despite my obsessive-compulsive habits, and ever since then we have remained friends. We’ve seen each other through so much and I can honestly say that I love her like no one else in my life.
“Hi, Dahlia girl.”
“Hello, Aerie, just checking on you.”
“I’m on my way. I got delayed, but I’ll be there shortly.”
“Oh, don’t rush. I was just worried. It’s not like you to not be punctual.”
“I know. I’m so sorry. The cupcake thief sabotaged my schedule.”
“The what?” she asks.
“Never mind. I’ll explain when I get there.”
“Okay,” she laughs. “Oh and, Aerie, River’s cousin is joining us for dinner,” she adds.
“The more the merrier,” I chime.
“See you soon,” she replies.
“Bye.” I hit the END button and concentrate on sidestepping the traffic.
After college Dahlia and I both moved to Laguna Beach. She had grown up there and returned to live with her fiancé, Ben Covington. Living in Laguna Beach has been a godsend. If I had to live in LA and deal with bumper-to-bumper cars every day, I would go out of my mind. I don’t know how Dahlia stands it. I’ve never heard her complain, but it must drive her insane. The traffic is so much heavier here than in Laguna and even more so than in Chicago.
Lincoln Park, Chicago, is where I grew up. It was the quaintest of neighborhoods with miles of greenery and tons of old fashion charm. My parents had me late in life and I was an only child. We lived near the shore of Lake Michigan in an old gray stone walk-up. My father was the marketing director and my mother the publications manager at the Cinema/Chicago. Their life revolved around preparing for the annual Chicago International Film Festival. As workaholics, they often towed me along on the weekends when they went to the theater. But I didn’t mind, I loved going to work with them. Come to think of it, walking through the props room of the theater often made me feel like I was Alice in Wonderland . . . why is the cupcake thief still on my mind?
Pushing him aside, the drive over to Dahlia and River’s makes me reflective, thinking about what brought me here. My uncle was diagnosed with cancer shortly before I graduated high school. I wanted to be close to him for as long as he had left, so at the last minute I chose the University of Southern California for college. My parents had already planned to retire to Florida after I graduated, so when they got the call, together we went to help my uncle through his illness. Sadly, he died before I finished my freshman year. After that, my parents decided to move to Florida, but I stayed. I was already entrenched in life at school. And once I finished there, I had no reason to return to the windy city, so I made Laguna my new home base. Actually, I chose to follow Dahlia, which in turn led me back to Laguna. And it all worked out wonderfully.
I was extremely lucky to get a job at Sound Music right after graduation. My uncle had forged an amazing relationship with the owner of the magazine, Josh Wolf, and he hired me as a columnist fresh out of school. By the time Dahlia completed her MBA, I was managing the new releases department and she came to work for me. But then tragedy struck and we thought Dahlia lost her fiancé. With her grief paralyzing her, she wasn’t able to work there anymore. But her fiancé hadn’t actually died. He returned three years later. By then she was already in love with someone else. I was actually the catalyst behind her new relationship. She had met a man years ago in college and I knew she was interested in him. So when River Wilde, the lead singer of the Wilde Ones, agreed to be interviewed by Sound Music Magazine, I knew just the person to conduct the interview. And now, almost two years later, I’m headed to Dahlia and her husband River’s house in the Hollywood Hills for dinner.
We actually haven’t seen each other since the chaos of the holidays and I haven’t gotten to see the wedding pictures or the pictures from their honeymoon in Paris either. I’m looking forward to catching up. Work has been so crazy that I haven’t been around much. The boss’s son has assumed the management role at the magazine and he has me running from city to city in a million different directions . . . interview this person, no wait I’m dumping that label so instead see if this person has a comment. It never ends. I’ve always loved my job, but right now, not so much. Especially since he told me he’s expanding from music to music and entertainment. He even hired some Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist from the New York Times to manage the entertainment side. I guess she worked for E Magazine previously so she has an entertainment background. Then he had the nerve to tell me in not so many words that I should be relieved I got to keep the music side. Geeez . . . thank you for that. I’ve only poured my life into my job.
I start to slow down as I approach the cul-de-sac where Dahlia and River live. Their late 1940s–style ranch is suspended high above the city with a large modern circular staircase leading to a beautiful pair of Art Deco double doors. The landscaping is beautifully kept with wildflowers peeking out in between eclectic rocks, and every corner is anchored with palm trees. The house is breathtaking, but Dahlia’s favorite part is the view of the Hollywood sign from her backyard. I have to agree—it’s pretty cool.
Dahlia has always been a lover of the outdoors. She runs, hikes, and swims. Me, I’m a lover of the indoors. I jog on the treadmill, work out with my trainer each morning at five a.m., and go to yoga class every Monday and Wednesday night. Dahlia says I have a type A personality and I definitely do. One reason we get along so well is because she’s a free spirit and my quirks don’t bother her. Although living together in college was a challenge. She’s anything but neat, but she made an attempt for my sake. She’d stuff everything away either inside the closet or in her drawers so I didn’t have to see the mess. I just tried not to look on her side of the room. Honestly, it made me a little anxious to see the disarray. Even going to her house gives me anxiety sometimes. It’s just that I believe everything has a place, and let me put it this way—she doesn’t.
As I pull into the driveway, my eyes dart first to the garage. The door is open and bottles, buckets, and rags are all over the place. Then I see the burnt orange RX-7 parked behind Dahlia’s car. I thought Dahlia had said River’s cousin was coming to dinner, but now I wonder if she hadn’t meant to say her nephew. Maybe Trent traded in his uncle’s car for that thing. Come to think of it, I didn’t even know River had a cousin.
My patent leather heels hit the pavement and I turn to retrieve the clear Sprinkles bag. The thought of the white, not chocolate cupcakes is still making me seethe with anger when I feel myself sliding across the driveway. I lose my balance and my purse flies in one direction as the bag travels in the other, and I land on my knees. Yuck . . . Oh my God, what am I sitting in?
I slowly stand up and survey the damage. My palms, as well as my knees, are covered in black goo. I glance down at my cropped red jacket, the one I bought to wear next month on Valentine’s Day, which seems to be fine, but the matching sheath dress has a slight tear at the kick pleat. And my shoes, my favorite Kate Spades, are scratched and the patent leather is torn off one of the toes. I blow a piece of hair out of my eyes that must have freed itself from my headband and carefully gather my things, using only my fingertips.
I trudge up the endless flight of stairs as my chunky glass necklace flaps against my collarbone. I ring the bell with my pinky finger.
“You made it,” Dahlia calls out cheerfully as she swings the door open.
She looks beautiful as always. An ivory colored sweater hangs off her shoulder, her jeans have a slight tattered look above her black converse sneakers, and her hair is draped over to one side. I have to say I envy her. It takes me three times longer than her to get ready, and she always looks perfect.
“Holy shit, what happened to you, Aerie?”
Frowning, I try not to cry as I hand her the bag of cupcakes with the box now turned upside down. “I slipped in the driveway.”
She takes the bag and drops it on the floor in the foyer.
I’m sure the dessert is beyond repair at this point.
Her eyes sweep over me. “Aerie?”
I take a deep breath and let it out. She knows me; she knows how upset I am about my filthy outfit.
She grabs my purse and sets it down next to the clear bag then reaches for my hand. “Come on, let’s get you cleaned up.”
I clench my fist so the grease doesn’t get on her, but not fast enough. When our palms touch, she yanks hers away and scrutinizes her hand. “Oh my God! River!” she yells out as she takes a firmer hold of my hand, and tugs me from the entryway. We cross through the family room and into the kitchen where she pushes a chair near the sink. “Sit here. I’ll be right back. Let me just go get something to clean the grease off you.”
Alone in the room, I look around the kitchen. It’s modern, but not stark. The twelve-light ultramodern fixture that hangs from the ceiling must be at least eight feet long and lights the area well. And where you would normally find cupboards, there are thick glass shelves filled with cups, plates, and bowls of all different colors, shapes, and sizes—so shabby chic, so Dahlia. The floor is a mix of black and white swirled together—almost gray, like his eyes. Again he’s in my thoughts.
My eyes rest on the counters as I try to distract myself. They are surprisingly clear of clutter. And the jet-black granite with white pearl splashed throughout adds a sparkle of light to what might otherwise appear dull. The high bar, complete with curvy black stools, bridges the kitchen to the living room. Her house is definitely a home.
A noise from the stove catches my attention. Suddenly, I smell garlic and hints of basil. I turn to look and see two giant pots bubbling over—one with spaghetti sauce and another thumping from the sound of boiling water. I hop up and rush to stir their contents. Natalie, the housekeeper, must have cooked and I’m so excited because her pasta sauce is the best I’ve ever tasted. I grab the pot holder and stir the sauce with the wooden spoon that was resting beside it. I try my best to avoid getting the black oil all over everything.
Then I walk back over to the sink and set the pot holder next to it. I pump soap in my hands and try not to laugh at the sight of the grease. Really, how did I not see the giant puddle in the driveway? I rub and rub, but it won’t come off, so I wipe my hands with the pot holder already covered in it, and then survey myself for further damage. Really, nothing to speak of—no scrapes or blood. I’m fine. I remove my jacket gingerly and kick my shoes to the side and sigh.
“Here we go,” Dahlia says coming back into the kitchen. She sets down a pile of fluffy white towels and a few bars of soap near the sink. “River!” she calls again. “I need some help.”
“Hey, I’m right here. What’s going on?” He appears in the staircase that leads down to the office, guestroom, and laundry room. Its opening freaks me out every time I come over. It’s a square cutout that sits between the kitchen and the family room. You just step down, no doorway, nothing to brace yourself against, and the railing doesn’t present itself for a few steps. I call it the infinity staircase and avoid it at all costs.
Once he sees me, he freezes. “Aerie, what happened to you? Are you okay?” he asks, clearly concerned.
“I fell, but I’m fine. Just a little dirty.”
Dahlia’s hands go to her hips and she clears her throat. “She slipped in oil,” she tells him, stressing the last word.
I look up at her. She has a look of stern reprimand on her face.
“She’s okay?” he asks again, this time to Dahlia.
He looks over to me, “I’m so sorry, Aerie. Let me get you something to get that off. I’ll be right back.” He quickly moves through the kitchen toward the door leading to the garage.
Dahlia shakes her head at him.
He turns back and mouths, “Sorry.”
She turns toward me and pulls my headband off my head to smooth the stray pieces back that have come loose from my French braid. “I am so sorry.”
“Stop apologizing. I’m fine. Really I am. And what am I missing here?”
She sighs and lets out a small giggle. “River and Jagger decided to change the oil in Jagger’s car this afternoon. I suggested they take it to a service center, but they insisted they were ‘real’ men and could do it themselves. River has never changed the oil in his car . . .”
There’s the sound of someone clearing his throat from the doorway as River strides in and hands me a container with the lid already off. It smells like oranges. “Here, this is a degreaser. It should take the oil right off,” he says.
I take the jar and rub some on my knees as Dahlia turns on the water and hands me a towel. I assume Jagger is River’s cousin. So Trent is not the one joining us for dinner.
“Where did you get that?” Dahlia asks River.
He moves closer to her. “Baby, I can’t tell you all my secrets.”
She swats his behind. “Don’t think I don’t know you two ended up at Jiffy Lube this afternoon.”
I bop my head up and continue to rub the grease from my knees. This story is getting interesting.
River grins and cranes his neck toward her lips. “Now, how did you find out that little piece of information?”
“The receipt you left on the kitchen counter next to your wallet. Busted!” she smirks.
I have to laugh. River has got to be one of the funniest, most down-to-earth guys I know and he and Dahlia couldn’t be more perfect for each other. They both look at me.
“What?” I ask. “I can’t find the story funny?”
“Well, at least let me explain before you laugh at me?” he jokes.
“Oh, I think we got this one,” Dahlia responds.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I loved this story, but would have prefered a full length book. I am really loving this series and highly recommend it to you. If you haven't read the others in the series, stop and read those first! It all starts with Connected. ENJOY!!!
Dazed is the third book in the Kim Karr’s connection series. This is a shorter story than that of the two previous, Connected and Torn. I have to say as much as I like Dahlia and River, this little novella was my favorite. I loved Aerie and Jagger and was abit disappointed that it ended too soon. I hope the author introduces a longer length book of these two at some point. I know we met them again in Mended but I demand more full on Jagger time! Despite its shortness it still held the attention and had same steamy sex scenes so a positive addition to the series. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Love all of this author's books-they're always creative and easy to read. Many of the stories are addictive and I've read all of them.
Remember when I reviewed Torn and said this series keeps getting better? Dazed totally continues the trend. It may be a novella, but it's big on story, sexy times and character development. I want to be friends with Aerie... and Jagger? Totally on my book boyfriend list. Dazed is the first of the Connections novels that doesn't follow Dahlia and River, and as much as I loved their story, I was ready to learn more about some of the side characters that intrigued me in the first two books. First up is Dahlia's best friend, Aerie and River's cousin, Jagger. These two could not be any more different... or perfect for each other. Aerie is a strong woman who is committed to her job. She's not looking for love. When she meets model turned actor Jagger she's attracted to him, but convinced he's a jerk. When they meet again, officially this time, at a dinner party with Dahlia and River, she learns there's much more to him than meets the eye. And she wants to know more. Sorry, River. You were great. But Jagger? I'll take him any day of the week. He's sexy as hell, sweet, thoughtful and quite determined when he sets his mind on something... or someone. Aerie has definitely caught his eye. Aerie and Jagger were *wonderful* together. I loved reading as they got to know each other and as their feelings grew. I loved the Alice in Wonderland references peppered throughout the book, too. It showed Jagger's playful side. The startling discovery teased in the blurb for this book? Not that startling to me. Honestly, I found it all a little overly dramatic. It definitely made Aerie look paranoid, in my opinion. But it was such a small blip, it didn't change my opinion of the book – or the characters – one little bit. I really enjoyed this story. In fact, I would've loved it had their story been more than just a novella. I could definitely do with another dose of Aerie and Jagger. Here's hoping they pop up again in the other novels in this series.
I have loved this series. River and Dahlia's story was so satisfying. I was excited to see more. When I met Jagger in the epilogue to Torn, I liked him right away. So reading his story was a given. And I love Jagger. Falling into being a model was a given considering just how sexy gorgeous he is. Dating the actress brought him pain and getting out of New York was his solution. He's trying his hand at acting while he stays with is cousin, River, in California. But what I love about his has nothing to do with any of that. I love that he brings Aerie out of her shell. He gets her to try new foods and explore new places. He teaches her to enjoy her life and do accept herself. He brings the best out of her and she him. They were adorable together. I do like Aerie even if she come to some strange conclusions at times. I get it but I wanted to smack her twice. Luckily, she figures it out too and then I just smiled. Love this series? Don't miss this one. Can't wait for more.
This was a short, sweet, simple story of two people finding each other. I loved it and its HEA!
Rating: 4.5 Stars The cover is as sexy as what is inside of this book. I totally swoon over it the first time I saw the cover of Dazed, and reading the two previous books of the series, I just knew I needed to read this one. Finishing film school, Jagger Kennedy wanted to be an actor primarily, but ended up being one of the most sought-after model of the industry. He has the looks, the attitude and the body. So makes me wonder, why in the heck would his ex-girlfriend did that utterly despicable thing she did? Arrrghhhh…. He moved to LA to get away from her, at the same time try his luck with acting. Love wasn’t really on his priorities, but he badly needed change. Aerie Daniels – type A personality, who loves to stick to rituals and loves to have her control. That is, until Jagger steps into her life and made her lose all her inhibitions. She didn’t see her coming and wasn’t really prepared for him to suddenly crash into her life and change it 180 before she could say stop. Just when she was ready to break the walls that surrounds her heart, secrets about Jagger’s past were revealed that has the potential to break her heart into pieces. But she was more important to him that Aerie could even realize, Jagger was willing to give up, even his dreams of acting for her – would it ever be enough? One thing Aerie has to do is to NOT TO OVERTHINK. I understand her concerns, and her past doesn’t really help that much – but this guy had been nothing buy wonderful to her. Yes, he didn’t really share his past, but he was willing to tell her everything. But she had already made up her mind, and she allowed her emotions to rein her. I loved the both of them together – they totally complemented each other. Him making her do things she doesn’t usually do, at her pace and comfort was really sweet. She dropped her control, and allowed herself to experience new things, which she doesn’t normally do. She was living her life after a very, very long time. So it saddened me a great deal when she decided to break things off with him because someone from his past suddenly made a comeback. She didn’t trust him enough, she didn’t trust their feelings for each other enough to hold on to what they have. I love what Jagger said in the story when he mentioned that it was not the amount of time, but the quality of it. Good thing she got her head straight and finally saw the light. Jagger’s is shorter than River’s story, but didn’t make it less beautiful or sexier. Kim Karr still gave her readers the right amount of drama and the right amount of steam that will have her readers sighing in contentment. Although I would have loved it more if Jagger has his own POV :D ¿Complimentary Copy was given in exchange for an honest review.¿
I had no idea what to expect with this one, but I knew I loved Aerie from the other books in the series, so I was most definitely interested in reading this one. And I'll be honest, I didn't read the Torn epilogue until after I read this one, but it certainly didn't take anything away from this novella for me. In fact, I really would say that this novella could be read as a stand alone. So...what did I think? I absolutely loved this story!!! Aerie Daniels likes structure. She feels better when she's in control. Most things in her life work well, because she does better when she has a routine. But, one day she meets a stunning guy in the cupcake shop she favorites and he not only cuts in front of her, but he takes all the cupcakes she wanted. She was so captivated by his looks, that she didn't even realize what happened until it was too late. Fast forward...she leaves the shop and goes to River and Dahlia's for dinner. Can you guess what happens next? Jagger has come to LA to pursue his acting career. Because he's River's cousin, they've offered him a place to stay at their house. Not only does this give him a link to the gorgeous girl he saw in the cupcake shop, but she just so happens to be the niece of the guy he wants to study for a part he's auditioning for. There's more to his interest than the character study though. Both Jagger and Aerie feel an automatic connection that can't be ignored. What happens next? I'll let you see, but know that I was a very happy girl with the outcome. As I said above, I've always like Aerie. Aerie is Dahlia's best friend and former roommate. I loved getting to know Aerie better in this novella. I found her family history to be exciting and I loved that she had ties to the movie and music industry. And, my personality is very similar to Aerie's and coincidentally for some of the same reasons. She was hurt in the past. She was made to feel used and as a result, she protected herself from getting hurt like that again. But, Jagger has gotten into her heart and mind completely. I was so happy that she decided to give him a chance. Jagger is the best! He's sexy, funny, charming and seriously sweet. I want a Jagger! His past was also interesting to learn about. He comes from a family that's in the fashion industry, so that's how he got started with his career. Plus, he has musician cousins! The thing I loved the most about Jagger was that he truly wanted Aerie. He made her let go of some of the control she lives by and helped her enjoy life. He tested her for sure, but his feelings were sincere. He was perfect! Overall, I loved this novella. I think it was a fantastic addition to the series. It got me super excited about reading Xander's book. Well, even more than I already was! If you've read the Connections Series, you won't want to miss this novella. If you haven't started the series yet and you want to get a feel for it, check out this novella. *Note: You don't have to read the epilogue from Torn to read this one, but you do get to meet Jagger in it. I've posted the link for the epilogue below. Quotes: ~Our gazes lock as he finds my eyes and I get lost in his, lost in watching him, lost in wanting him.-Loc 788 ~His lips touch mine and a thrill runs down my spine. He uses his tongue to part my lips and I open my mouth with greed. Our tongues dances and when he pulls back-we are both breathless. "Wow," I say lost in the moment, left completely dazed.-Loc 903 ~"Can you let your need for control go, for just this one night?" I swallow and stare back into his eyes for the longest time before answering. "Yes." He grins. "And leave your shoes on."-Loc 1214
Another hit please keep them coming
Though this was a novella, it had plenty of of action from beginning to end. It felt like I was reading a full-length novel. We get a really cute intro to the story with an Alice in Wonderland reference. So that right there tells you that you're about to read a great story. Aerie and Jagger have great banter between the two when they're simply strangers. That chemistry that forms when they first meet only gets better and hotter. I really liked the balance between sweet and sexy in this story. Which is how I feel the characters are individually. The two have personalities that are on both sides of the spectrum. They get on so well and provide a little something extra for one another. Though there is an insta-love aspect to their relationship, I thought the story spanned over a good amount of time. They spent enough time together and had enough in common for them to just click. I never for a second questioned their feelings for each other. Aerie was a strong, independent woman who was used to being in control of every detail of her life. Meeting Jagger added a whole new kind of excitement that was foreign to her. Jagger is witty and handsome, but most importantly, caring. He cares deeply for Aerie and wants to help loosen her up a bit. Fans of the first two books will be very happy to see River and Dahlia make a few appearances in this novella. A very sweet and adorable love story that's a great little addition the the amazing Connections series. Dazed was a pretty quick read, but was filled with just enough angst and a great storyline. These characters will quickly draw you into their world and keep you there!
After meeting and getting to know Aerie in Connected and Torn, I was really looking forward to reading her story. We were introduced to Jagger, River Wilde's cousin, in the Torn epilogue, and I just love River, so I was sure I'd fall for his cousin also, which of course I did. While River is in the music industry, Jagger is an actor/model, and though he is "beautiful," he is all man. After a chance meeting at a bakery, Aerie is more than shocked when she arrives at Dahlia and River's for dinner that night and Jagger AKA "The Cupcake Thief," is there and is also the cousin that Dahlia wants her to meet, and they immediately hit it off with some serious chemistry sparking between them. Aerie hasn't had good luck with men in the past and has been hurt badly, so she has walls and coping mechanisms she has constructed to deal with them. She is shocked when Jagger is able to get right past all of that and find his way inside so quickly. He makes her experience and feel things she didn't think she was capable of, but when someone from his past appears on the radar, all that comes rushing back and threatens all that they have. Aerie has to make some choices, but will she make the right ones? Dazed is a novella, and can be read as a stand alone, but the series is so good, I most certainly would recommend reading Connected and Torn as well. Don't let the fact that this is a novella sway you, because it is a fantastic story wrapped in a small package that delivers everything you could hope for in a full length novel, just leaving you wishing for more of the story, though completely satisfied with what took place, and where things end. Kim Karr also provides a wonderful epilogue, which is the icing on the cake and totally satisfies your sweet tooth. I loved that we get to see River and Dahlia in this book also. If you are a contemporary romance fan, Dazed and the entire Connections series is something I most definitely would recommend checking out. I can't wait to read Mended, the next book in the series.
I love Kim Karr, even though this was a short story it packed a punch. Entire lives of the characters were written in such a way that it grabs you from the beginning. A somewhat free spirit mixed with one that has quirks she feels she needs to survive, made for an awesome love story. I recommend you read all in this series. :)
*Dazed is a Connections Series Novella but it not necessary to read Connected and Torn prior to reading this* Kim Karr can write one hell of a story and I loved that she was able to take the Connections series in a new direction with Aerie and Jagger while still giving us bits and pieces of Dahlia and River! From the first few pages of the novella (read the excerpt and you will understand me here) I fell in love all over again with Kim Karr's writing style. Instantly, I was enchanted and intrigued by Jagger and Aerie. The banter, the wit and the complexities that both characters brought to this story really blended into a great and very addicting read. Dazed, though a novella, gives us a rich story that never feels rushed or unfinished and I accredit that to Kim's writing. She knows how to hook you in, keep you turning those pages and gets you wrapped up in the romance, heat and wonder of falling in love. Aerie was a character that had peaked my curiosity back in Connected and Torn and I loved getting to know her back story and watching her orderly world get shaken up by Jagger. Jagger, damn! He was easy to fall for and quiet possibly created the perfect first date I have read in a book! I loved Dazed, it was romantic, hot and made you greedy for more! Kim Karr is taking a series that I loved and craved more of and creatively giving me exactly what I am missing and want while also giving me more amazing stories to fall in love with! Connections is a series that I love and is definitely living up to my expectations. If you haven't read Connected or Torn, you can read Dazed and be absolutely whisked away with Aerie and Jagger's story, but be warned you are going to want to read the first two books in the series to get to know River and Dahlia too! Fans of Kim Karr will eat up Dazed and be anxiously awaiting what this series will bring us next with Mended (coming out this summer). Go 1-click this novella and see why I am a fan of Kim Karr and her Connections series.
Sweet, hot, and intense, Dazed was a lovely novella. I really like the Connections series, and this novella was a wonderful story of a character from the first two books. Really liked this one, and really enjoyed reading it. Both characters were great. Aerie was likable and resilient in her own quiet way. I did get annoyed that she let her assumptions almost ruin her chance at happiness. But, overall, I liked her. Jagger was wonderful. He was very sweet and absolutely adorable. I thought he was perfect. The romance was lovely. Aerie and Jagger were very sweet together, with how they so implicitly understood each other. And, the chemistry between them was very hot, with enough steaminess to turn the heat up. They were a great couple. The plot went by quickly and I was kept interested the entire way through. As with the previous books in this series, the emotions were portrayed with such depth that made me truly feel along with the characters. Kim Karr certainly has a talent with how she writes in all those deep emotions. I enjoyed the story and the ending was perfect. Dazed was a wonderful New Adult novella. The romance was sweet and hot, the emotions were deep and intense, and the story was quick and enjoyable. Romance lovers, if you want a quick, lovely read, then this is your book. *I received a complimentary copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
I love Aerrie Daniels. She was my favorite in the other books. But now seeing her OCD and all just made her even better. Hard shell and all. Then enter Jagger. He rocked her world before they even connected. I loved how Led Zeppelin was the muse in this story ( My faorite band),.
Fun and romantic love story reminding us that true love can be found even when you are not looking. I absolutely fell in love with Jagger and Aerie. Aerie is so type A and Jagger is not. I love the way that Kim introduces from the very beginning to the Yin and Yang cupcakes. They are symbolic of the relationship that blooms between Jagger and Aerie. The menu describes it as, “Yin and Yang.” An ancient proverb that says, “Complementary opposites, such as light and dark, day and night, and masculine and feminine, seemingly may exist as contrary forces, but are actually interconnected.” Both Jagger and Aerie are interconnected as they are dealing with very similar emotional scars from past relationships. Aerie has turned herself into the predictable and Jagger is taking chances and going after what he wants. When Aerie gets a taste of what its like to break out of the mold she has been living in it is very liberating for her. Jagger falls hard but Aerie guards her heart. She has been burned before and has not let anyone in since. When I first heard that Kim was writing Jagger and Aerie’s story I thought why. I had just finished Connected and Torn and wanted to know what happens to Ben next. I mean what a mess did that boy get himself into. Kim is amazing in that she took two characters that meant nothing to me and made them into a beautiful love story. This novella is written like a full length novel in that there is no rush at the end to get in all the details. Kim does an excellent job with the epilogue and ending the story with a solid HEA. So, If you are huge fan of Alice In Wonderland, you will love this book. If you are not but love a heartwrenching and magical love story you will enjoy Dazed.
Dazed by Kim Karr Review by Wendy for Shhh, Mommy's in the Bathroom.,.Reading 4.5 Stars Aerie Daniels keeps order to her life. Everything has it's place and purpose. It's how she keeps her sanity. When Jagger bogarts her cupcakes, aerie is beginning her descent down the rabbit hole. This is a short novella that I was able to read in a day. Jagger is Rivers cousin and moves to California in hopes of landing the lead role in "No Led Zeppelin," which happens to be the story of Aeries Uncle. When events start to remind her of her first Love (Levi) and how he used her to get her uncles connection, Aerie doesn't know if Jagger's feeling are genuine or if she's a stepping stone for his career. Once their story gets going, it is very intense and HAWT, HAWT, HAWT! We also get an update on Dahlia and River, which is a bonus. If I had to complain about anything, in the beginning I felt it was over descriptive. This may have been done to show Aeries OCD, but it just wasn't for me personally. Overall, I loved the novella. I felt we got a lot of story for a short book and I am looking forward to the rest of this series. Favorite quote: Now here’s the question—when Alice falls down the rabbit hole, does she tumble or plummet? I couldn’t remember. Or should I really be asking if, when she falls through the looking glass, does she stumble or crash?
Jagger, um yeah, Jagger. When I think about Jagger, pictures of a certain other Jagger come to mind. Anyone remember Jagger Cates from GH? And even though he’s much older now, (recently turned 42 years young), he still looks sexy as hell! Any GH fan will tell you; this man had all sorts of swagger. His presence graced GH for a little over two years when he was in his early 20’s but he sure made one beautiful impression. Not only an actor but also a former Calvin Klein underwear model, I can’t help but picture Antonio Sabato, Jr. as Kim Karr’s Jagger. Can you blame me? A sizzling HOT model bod, slice of bad boy, dashed with a dose of charm and you have the perfect recipe for Jagger Kennedy, cousin of the infamous River Wilde, and star of Dazed, a Connections Series novella. “He stands in front of me looking like sin on a stick. God, he’s beautiful.” Kim sure knows how to write ‘em. The boys in her books are all sorts of ideal! Funny, beautiful, sexy, adventurous and downright chock full of the sugary sweetness any female would crave to lick. I fell head over heels in love with Aerie and Jagger’s story. It was a pure delight; sinfully sexy and deliciously satisfying with just a smidgeon of angst, resulting in that pleasantly high sensation by the end. Perfect, really. (And let me just add that River and Dahlia are disgustingly cute. But that’s all I’ll mention about that adorable couple because this was really about Aerie and Jagger.) I found myself smiling continuously for Aerie. My heart was full of happiness for her. I adored her character in the first two Connections books and was thrilled that Kim wrote her own story. Aerie was a loyal friend who stood by Dahlia during her most difficult times. She seemed fierce, confident, ambitious and secure. Little did I realize Aerie had some deeply rooted issues that left her feeling much more vulnerable than she portrayed to the outside world. I understood those issues, I empathized with those issues. I felt her pain. Kim’s words have a way of seeping into your heart affecting one to develop a deep connection with her characters. Aerie’s vulnerability produced strong thick walls guarding her heart and soul. No one was able to break through, that is, until Jagger the cupcake thief smoothly entered her life. Yes. Cupcake. Thief. He stole her cupcakes…and her heart. Jagger was a quiet force to be reckoned with. Smoldering, sexy, confident, charming…yet introspective. He was the Yin to Aerie’s Yang, if she would only let him penetrate those barriers guarding her heart. He brought to life a side of her buried deep within and begging to be set free. And Jagger was just the person to do it. Lucky girl, that Aerie. Jagger had his own issues with heartbreak, but wasn’t the least bit afraid to pursue Aerie. He was determined to break through those walls and set Aerie free. But first he needed her to give up some of that perfectly ordered control she was so used to keeping. Predictability and routine were ingrained in Aerie’s lifestyle and she found it difficult to deviate. She didn’t realize the quiet inner strength she possessed until a conversation with a former acquaintance allowed her to unlock the key to her heart. You’ll need to read this breathtaking story to uncover all the particulars as I don’t want to provide any spoilers. But rest assured, you will not be disappointed. If you’ve read Connections and Torn and love Kim Karr’s boys as much as I do, you will undoubtedly want to dive into Dazed! And if you haven’t yet read the Connections Series, may I respectfully ask, what are you waiting for? Next up…Mended!
I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Aerie Daniels is Dahlia’s (from Connected) best friend. She keeps perfect control of her life, trying to keep the depression at bay. Jagger is River’s (again from Connected) long lost cousin. He’s moved to L.A. to try his hand at acting. He’s also trying to get Aerie to loosen up. Jagger has Aerie stepping outside her comfort zone. What are they willing to give up for their love? Dazed is a very well-written, easy-to-read novella. I finished it in one sitting. I loved Aerie’s quirks. She just can’t get over that cupcake thief. I also hated some of her actions. I hated that she let men use her body. I also hated that she let one experience as a teenager influence her relationships. I understand the idea of keeping in control of your life, but I also thought she was way too controlled. It was nice to see Jagger push her. I also loved Jagger’s references to ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Those references stood out the most to me and are what I really remember about the book. I enjoyed the interactions between all the characters. Overall, this was a sweet, quick read that goes along nicely with the other books in the Connected series. It can also be read as a stand-alone. 4-Bombs Reviewed by Tracy
I will never, ever get tired of reading Ms. Karr's books. There is something inexplicably amazing about them. Dazed is just as captivating, and lovely as the other books in the Connections series. Kim Karr still managed to pack the same amount of punch in this novella, as in her full length books. Of course, I wanted more, but I always want more with any of her books. Jagger and Aerie did no disappoint. I felt like they kidnapped my heart and soul and wouldn't give them back. I endured every emotion, from bliss to heartbreak, with them. I don't know how she does it, but even when her characters cover just a broad spectrum the author was still able to make me feel connected to every one of them. Dazed is quite simply the story of trust, and a love so deep it becomes part of who you are. Aerie Daniels is a woman in control. Of everything. She controls her future, her present, and has internally controlled her past by compartmentalizing is away. Yet, by doing so, she has also never dealt with the doubts and fears it carved into her soul when she had her heart broken. In walks Jagger Kennedy. He will undo all of Aerie's neat composure and make her live again. Even if he won't be there in the end. Within days of meeting Jagger he has already made an impact on Aerie. She is trying new things, and generally mussing up her life a little. That's what got me about these two. They may have off the charts chemistry but, not every second is ladened with lust. I saw that despite their romantic involvement they could be the best of friends. They bring out the best in each other. I may have only known them a short time, but their connection was so incredibly profound, it made my heart hurt in the best way. When Aerie begins to draw parallels between now and when she experienced the worst hurt of her younger years, she balks. She finds every conceivable way to run. Jagger isn't going to let that happen. He may have found Aerie when he was running but, she stopped him dead in his tracks, and now it's his turn to return the favor. I wish we could bottle an inkling of the magic that comes from Kim Karr's fingertips and mind. It's pure gold. This book hit me hard and fast. Leaving me satisfied and bereft all at the same time. The mind-boggling aspect of this book is that, it seems like a cookie-cutter book from the outside. However when I read it, it enthralled me and left me with no doubt that it was a diamond among rocks. Jagger, with is unfailing dedication and love. Aerie, with her strong will and big heart. Together, they were a recipe for love and forever. You'll just have to read to see if the chef was successful :) All kidding aside, this book is the whole package. Could not have asked for more... well I could have, but the story given is complete and wonderful. All I can do is hope to get glimpses in future books! Happy Reading! *ARC received by author/publisher in exchange for an honest review*
Wonderful little romance! In the interest of full disclosure, I received a copy of this book at no cost from the publisher for review purposes. 5 Stars! I just loved this book. Even though I was a teenager half my life ago, this book is one of the reasons I still choose to read YA novels. There are no silly sparkly vampires seen here. There is really nothing sparkly seen here at all. This book is real. This book makes the reader feel. Laurel is just entering a high school at a new school. She is given an assignment in her English class of writing a letter to a person who is dead. While Laurel never turns in her assignment, she spends that year writing letters to famous dead people as a way of journaling her very troubled life. Through the letters, the reader learns everything that troubles Laurel but we learn them piece by piece. The biggest piece is the loss of her older sister and the subsequent effect on her family. Many pieces of the story do not come until the end of the book when Laurel is ready to deal with them. We watch her deal with pain and grief in stages as she is ready. The letters are address to people that I know well since I am older than the intended audience. I do wonder if the average teen reader will know who Kurt Cobain, Jim Morrison, River Phoenix and Janis Joplin are and whether than will have any effect on their enjoyment of the book. This book will probably be best for an older teen as drinking, drugs, and sex (plus other sensitive topics) are part of the story. We do see Laurel grow and deal with everything that has happened in her life. I have hope for her future. This is a story of a girl having the strength to overcome what life has thrown at her.
MY THOUGHTS Aerie Daniels - we met her in the first 2 books. She's Dahlia's best friend - she's working at this music magazine and she's living in Laguna Beach and she's a bit of an OCD-freak ¿ Jagger Kennedy is River Wildes' long lost cousin - the 2 only met recently and have become fast friends, that's why Jagger is staying at the Wildes' place in Hollywood, while he's trying to get started as an actor in Hollywood. Aerie & Jagger meet in a CupCakeShop ¿ not knowing who the other is of course. They're both immediately and extremely attracted to each other. Jagger is too beautiful for his own good - he's a horrible flirt and he turns Aerie into a blushing stuttering mess. After the Cup Cake Incident they both meet again at the Wildes'. Jagger is about to audition for a movie - for the role of Aerie's uncle - a famous musician - and he asks her out to talk about her uncle. Aerie is not sure if it's only about her uncle or if he's interested in her too. HE IS ¿ but Aerie doesn't really have much experience with guys - she never really got the whole 'sex-thing' ¿ until now ♥ They start seeing each other and Aerie just blooms - she lets go of some of her OCD-ish ticks and starts living (as in driving her car without a roof!!) and loving... But of course things are not perfect....there's Jagger's mysterious EX - and maybe some secrets or at least some 'forgot-to-mention' details too... WILL THE TWO OF THEM GET THEIR HEA??? I'm not telling you that of course!! GO READ IT! _____________________________________ I REALLY LOVED THE STORY!!!!! It was way too short - I would've loved to read another 500 pages about JAGGER ♥♥♥♥♥ & Aerie!! They were sooo great, just perfect! Jagger is such a hot & sweet guy! And Aerie...such a sweet and adorably klutzy perfectionist ¿ I laughed, I cried... But most of all I just ENJOYED the little time I had with Jagger & Aerie! IT REALLY WAS THE PERFECT LITTLE SEXY ROMANCE!! THANK YOU KIM!!!! And thank you for giving us another little glimpse of my darling River and his Dahlia!!