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Whiskey in the Jar Romance

Romance book Reviews

Blogger Site: WhiskeyintheJar Romance

Guest Reviewer at:  Reading Between the Wines book club

Currently reading

Heart of Deception
Taylor Chase
Progress: 25%
Under the Wire: Bad Boys Undercover
HelenKay Dimon
Wed to a Spy: An All the Queen's Spies Novel
Sharon Cullen

Kyraryker’s quotes


"She thought it over, but couldn’t see any immediate loopholes other than the threat of her inner slut emerging, and she could darned well control that little bitch."— Susan Elizabeth Phillips

25%

Heart of Deception - Taylor Chase

He had known proud women, but he never seen any but a whore so bold. But it was he who was the whore, selling himself to her. Rafe dropped his gaze, queasy shame tainting his lust. Except that his honor lay in vengeance for Gabriel and safety for his family.

It could bear a bit of tarnish.

Reading Update: 10%

Heart of Deception - Taylor Chase

The black eyes sought his again, and he stared back defiantly, icy anger running in cold currents against his hot arousal. Rafe felt more than provoked he felt deliberately tested to see how long he could stand in the fire.

As long as you dare, he defied her silently.

 

Most of the time, the cheesiness of romance covers flies by me but for how historically researched and nuanced (the hero got choked up when reunited with his friend!, the heroine looks to be a powerful and owning her sexuality badass) the lead characters are, I'm thinking this story may have been overshadowed for the wrong reasons. 

 

I'm also only 10%, lol, but this is different so good right now. 

Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti

Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers) - Rebecca Zanetti

I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Heath and his blood brothers are still on the run and fighting their past. However, when he meets Anya, the danger of entanglements might be too hard for him to fight.
Anya decides that fighting back against the serial killer playing with her is better than watching others die around her. When she announces on live tv that her and Heath are engaged, she knows the danger she is putting herself in, but she never could have imagined the greatest danger was to her heart. 

There was no mercy when monsters harmed women. 

Book two in the Blood Brothers series reunites us with the Lost Boys. This time it is Heath who is the hero and with a mother who was killed by an abusive boyfriend, he has a big time trigger for men who hurt women. When he sees Anya with bruises, no matter of the innocent reasoning, and finds out that the Copper Killer serial killer is after her, he instantly goes into protector mode. This past hurt and resulting trigger for Heath, while emotional, was a bit overplayed and repetitive. The numerous times he saw red or freaked out made him seem less strong protector and more auto-pilot brainless alpha. The story didn't flush out his personality enough for me, he seemed like he only had two depths, alpha protector and hot for Anya. I did enjoy the scenes where Heath and the brothers interacted but I missed other personality nuances. 

She studied him, her eyes darkening. Finally, one corner of her mouth quirked. "You're a beneath the surface kind of guy, aren't you?" 

I kind of had the same problem with Anya, she had the hots for Heath (while kind of sorta but not being afraid of him) and wanted to be in charge of capturing the Copper Killer. At times she seemed brave and others she seemed needlessly talking big game while blindingly doing nothing. I also thought the emotion of losing her sister and fighting her attraction to Heath felt off, would she be fighting sexual thoughts the night of her sister's funeral? I think, ultimately, the uneven feelings I had with the lead characters came from the meandering feel from the story. 

The beginning of the story gets going right away, with the back story and a continuing story thread I wouldn't recommend this as a standalone, but it also felt a bit choppy. It eventually smooths out as we are re-introduced to the handful of cast of characters that include Heath's brothers and the villains. Dr. Madison, who created the brothers (also the tie-in to the author's previous series Sin Brothers), Sheriff Cobb who works for Dr. Madison but also has a personal vendetta against the brothers, and Daniel, a soldier still working for Dr. Madison. The Dr. Madison and super soldier secret military program is intriguing, interesting and what I found captured my attention the most. As it is the continuing story thread, there is no resolution here but you can feel things building up in a crescendo. 

Mostly, I found this book to be a slow moving, repetitive layover in the series. Heath and Anya have a bit of insta-love, the must protect Anya but Anya demanding to be in charge, bickering with FBI, and forced serial killer tie-in went in circles for too long. The next book is about the last Blood Brother, Denver. I'm hoping for more of the action, chemistry, and movement in the interesting super soldier program that appeared in the first. 

"I like you, too," she said. Yeah, she'd just opened herself up. Perhaps she was crazy. His upper lip quirked. "You're dangerous lady." 

Reading Update: 60%

Lethal Lies (Blood Brothers) - Rebecca Zanetti

“You think this is just work?”

The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body. Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?”His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit. As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now.

“You can’t.”Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved.

All in the family

Rags-To-Riches Bride - Mary Nichols

I hate to do this to y'all, but the most important thing I think you need to know about this story is also a spoiler. It's hinted at but you don't learn the truth until around the 70 or 80% mark, but I MUST say it because, well, if you read the spoiler you'll understand.

THEY HAVE THE SAME GREAT-GRANDFATHER. I think the author said it made their relationship second cousins (she also added a "once removed" but the character that said it made it sound like she wasn't sure). I'm sure this is fine for some but for me,

It's talked about how the heroine looks exactly like the great-grandmother at that age and all the talk of similarities was too in the family for me.

(show spoiler)

 

Moving on, the spoiler basically just put a cherry on what I would call a meh book. If you're looking for a clean read, this would be for you but also be aware the romance is slow and meandering. I liked the heroine and hero together but while at times they had chemistry, their dialogue could also be a bit stiff. This is a Mills & Boon and it comes with the more stiff upper lip reserved story and characters.

Teaser Blitz! Lethal Lies by Rebecca Zanetti #Giveaway!

 

A deadly secret can't stay buried forever . . .

 

Revenge. It's the only thing that will help Anya Best sleep at night. The serial killer who murdered her sister is on the loose, and Anya will stop at nothing to put him behind bars—even use herself as bait to lure him out of hiding. But she can't do this alone.

 

Private investigator Heath Jones's job is to bring bastards to justice. This time it's personal. He knew the Copper Killer's latest victim so when her sister asks for his help, he's all in. But when Anya uses the media to taunt the killer, she exposes Heath's identity, putting them both in jeopardy. Now, secrets buried long ago are coming to light and the forces determined to destroy him are watching Heath's every move, waiting to exact their own revenge. And they'll use anything and anyone to get to Heath.

 

 

 ABOUT THE BOOK

 

Title: LETHAL LIES      

Author: Rebecca Zanetti

Series: Blood Brothers, #2

On Sale: May 16, 2017

Publisher: Forever

Trade Paperback: $14.99 USD

eBook: $5.99 USD

Add to Goodreads

 

“4 1/2 stars! Top pick! This is a true thriller that will keep readers frantically flipping the pages as death and danger come at the protagonists from several directions.  Zanetti's brilliance at storytelling is on full display...When it comes to high-octane thrillers, they don't get better than Zanetti!” —RT Book Reviews on LETHAL LIES

 

“Zanetti balances the adventure and menace of Zara and Ryker's lives with a relatable romance. The result is a story that's sexy and emotional, and filled with a rich look at love in all its forms.” —The Washington Post on DEADLY SILENCE

 

“Budget your time, readers, because this is one that's hard to put down.” —HeroesandHeartbreakers.com on DEADLY SILENCE

 

 

 PREORDER THE BOOK HERE

 

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Excerpt:

“All the more reason to get you out of town,” Heath said quietly.

She shook her head. “No. I’m staying.” Her words were brave, but her chest hurt. No way could she deal with a serial killer all on her own. She could train every day for the rest of her life and not end up as practiced or as deadly as Heath already was, and she knew it. “I understand you have other cases and people after you. So leave, and I’ll handle this myself.”

“Those are big words, baby,” he said softly.

Her lip quivered, and she bit down on it. “I know. I promised her, Heath. It’s all I have left to give to her.”

He paused, understanding crossing his expression. “Ah, sweetheart. Your sister wouldn’t want that for you.” His voice turned velvety and soft. Soothing.

Anya nodded. “I know. But she was my sister. We shared blood and part of a childhood. She took me trick-or-treating when I was five, and it’s one of my best memories. Then when I needed help as an adult, she didn’t hesitate. She came to me right away, like family. She was the first person I really cared about in far too long, and it hurts like hell that I got her killed.”

He breathed out, the emotion in his eyes deepening.

She swallowed. “I have to do this for her. Either you understand that or you don’t.”

“Why don’t you just let us handle it?”

She pressed her point. “I could, but you need me. I’m the bait.” Inwardly, she winced at the description. That wouldn’t help her to convince him. “Also, here’s the deal. This could be a long op. At some point, you have to leave and deal with whatever is haunting you from your past. When you do, I’ll just challenge him again, and next time you won’t be around to assist.”

“That’s extortion,” Heath said, amusement curving his lip.

She grinned. “Apparently I’m getting quite good at it.”

Heath shook his head. “You’re putting me in an untenable position, baby.”

“No, I’m not.” She shrugged out of his hold. Finally. “I’m not yours to protect, Heath. We’re not together, and we’re not responsible for each other.” The words sliced through her even as she said them. “You’ve been more than clear on that score.”

“There’s something here, Anya. Maybe something real and lasting, if I get everything done I need to do.”

She blinked. “What’s that?”

“The less you know the better. Believe me.”

“What a bunch of bullshit. Go back to your ‘This is fake’ proclamation,” she all but yelled. “Your position is one of work . . . and this is just work.”

His chin lifted. “You think this is just work?” The tone—low and filled with tension—zinged through her body.

Her legs trembled with the urge to take a step back. “Yes.”

“Want me to prove otherwise?” His eyes darkened to the color of the sky right before midnight hit.

As a threat, as a warning, it was damn good. But she’d gone too far to give in now. “You can’t.” Yeah, she’d just waved a red flag in front of a bull.

He didn’t move a muscle. His focus on her was so absolute, she wanted to squirm. “You’re into challenging dangerous men these days, aren’t you?”

She kept her stance. “You’re not all that dangerous, Heath.”

His smile stole her breath. Then he moved. Faster than she could track, he had her by the armpits and up in the air as he carried her toward the bedroom with such speed that her legs automatically wound around to clasp his rib cage. By the time she sucked in air to protest, her butt was on the bed, and he was flattening himself over her.

She struggled, her body on fire, fighting the urge to laugh out loud.

His mouth crushed hers, and she stilled.

Heat.

Fire.

True danger.

He held nothing back, kissing her hard, pressing her head into the comforter. His tongue worked hers, his powerful body plastered against hers, and his hands dug into her hair to hold her in place. Desire spun so quickly into need she couldn’t breathe, even when he wasn’t controlling her mouth.

She shifted against him, closing her eyes to kiss him back. This was what she’d wanted. All of this.

He nipped her lip, soothing the slight pain with another kiss. Then he traced along her jawline, kissing and nipping, finally reaching her earlobe, where he bit.

She arched against him, letting out a soft sigh.

“Anya.” His fingers tangled in her hair, and erotic pain tingled down her scalp. One of his strong arms slid around her waist and then down. His palm spread across her butt, and he ground her against his hard cock.

Pleasure swamped her, and mini explosions flew through her sex. The idea passed, somewhat fleetingly, that he wasn’t playing. Not at all.

Yet she couldn’t stop herself. Her knees widened, and she rubbed against him. “This feels real,” she whispered.

 

 

 

 

 

THE BLOOD BROTHERS SERIES

 

DEADLY SILENCE, #1  My Review

LETHAL LIES, #2

TWISTED TRUTHS, #3

Series Page on Goodreads

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Rebecca Zanetti is the author of over twenty-five romantic suspense, dark paranormal, and contemporary romances, and her books have appeared multiple times on the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon bestseller lists. She has received a Publisher's Weekly Starred Review for Wicked Edge, Romantic Times Reviewer Choice Nominations for Forgotten Sins and Sweet Revenge, and RT Top Picks  for several of her novels.  She lives in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest with her own alpha hero, two kids, a couple of dogs, a crazy cat...and a huge extended family.  She believes strongly in luck, karma, and working her butt off...and she thinks one of the best things about being an author, unlike the lawyer she used to be, is that she can let the crazy out.

 

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Request Wednesday

Any recommendations for good romance genre books set in the Bronze Age?

 

Iron Age

The King's Executioner (Pict King Series) (Volume 1) - Donna Fletcher

Love the Iron age time period this is set in, was fresh and intriguing as the majority of historicals published are regency and Victorian. Besides the clothing and looks of our characters I would have liked a bit more to the details of the time period so I could enjoy it more.
I rounded up because of the different setting and the fabulous cover, lol, but this road romance had a lot of rinse and repeat to it. Paine and Anin traveling, danger, Anin scared and/or needs to be rescued, and ending with Anin hugging Paine. This happened over and over, I found myself wanting to skim and skip.
The time period makes this fresh but the romance is a bit insta and the repeating danger then hugs, made this road romance a little dragging

Heroine gets the all the credit

Tortured - Amanda McIntyre

"You have spoken the truth and perhaps it makes you feel better to do so. It is no secret that I am no lady, but at least I do not pretend to be something I am not. You, on the other hand, wear your piety on your sleeve for all to see, when inside you are just as prone to lust and cruelty as the rest of us."

"That is enough," he stated flatly.

"People like me and Cearl, we're nothing in your eyes. You are not able to see past your preconceived judgments of me. You see a filthy face, tattered clothes and the life I did not choose, and still you judge me for what I must do to survive."

"This conversation is over." He glanced at her, then turned away.

"I do not fit into your idea of a lady," she continued, "because my hair is not long. Because I do not wear the clothes of a proper maiden, or act helpless and in need of a big strapping arse like yourself."

He looked at her then and his gaze narrowed.

"Maybe you are so put off by me because you know I do not need you to survive. I have lived through hell without your help and I can certainly continue to live without you."

 

This is a dark ages set erotica and it doesn't play around with shying away from the time period. There is brutal torture, rape, murder, and unwashed bodies. I personally couldn't get too much into the hot and sexy swing of things because most sex scenes happened after torture and while our heroine enjoys her sexual side, I couldn't shake the influence of necessity. Basically, a chicken or the egg conundrum was taking place in my mind if she naturally enjoyed sex or her imprisonment and survival convinced her she enjoyed it. She mentions how her sexual relationship with a fellow prisoner is the only way she can escape for a while her awful life, which I was ok with but the fellow prisoner wasn't great in bed, so not getting the sexy there, lol. The relationship with the hero was ok but their sex scenes came after torture, dude had his pinky tip cut off and was whipped (not the consensual kind) and somehow still felt up for sexy times. I get a hangnail and I don't want to be touched for 48hrs; I couldn't change gears so fast. 

 

I saw another reviewer mention how she felt like the villain and heroine had more chemistry and even though it icks me out too, I agree. If you're into dark ages erotica, this would be a great pick, it had a wonderful authentic (well, fictional authentic) feel to it. My mind just couldn't go with the flow or change gears to get into the erotic side. However, the survive and going to get my rocks off heroine was great.  

Reading Update: 30%

Tortured - Amanda McIntyre

"You are as bad as the rest of these Saxons, you heartless bitch," he growled.

Sierra shook her head. He was no different than most men. Their pride dangled between their legs. "Nay, you men are all the same, believing that a woman's heavenly duty is to serve you night and day, suffer the pangs of labor, raise your bairn, plow the fields, make your bread, and then hike up our skirts and say give me some more, sir."

"You seduced me!" he shouted.

"Did I once give you cause to think any emotion was attached to it?" she countered. "Did I fill your head with flowery promises like you would have given me and never kept?" she demanded.

Hard-Hearted Highlander by Julia London

Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms) - Julia London

This story was not for me, at all. As much as I loved the first in the series, I did not like this one.

No, men didn't intimidate her. No one intimidated her.

Our heroine is now a lady's maid after eloping with a dude below her station. Her dad wasn't having it, got the marriage annulled and sent the dude away on a ship.

ship sunk, dude died

(show spoiler)

  She's twenty-nine and after living through the disillusionment of happily ever after, she has a bit of a crusty outer layer. I generally liked her, but the numerous sad inner thoughts passages didn't endear her to me so much as keep any momentum between her and the hero from getting rolling.

"You are wretched, Rabbie MacKenzie."

Took the words right out of my mouth. Seriously, the hero goes beyond depressed, grumpy, or broody, he's a d*ck. His rudeness towards his fiancée (who heroine works for) is completely uncalled for. I get it, he doesn't want to marry her, and he’s depressed and still hurting from his first love. Oh that's right, not only is there a fiancée to compete with the heroine but also a lost first love. He comes off immature and d*ckish with his attitude towards everything. I would have accepted standoffish with the fiancée, 'cause hey, she's not the heroine, but his attitude made me severely dislike him.

Not being able to connect with the hero and heroine definitely led to me not feeling their romance. It was probably also the occasional flashbacks to the hero falling in love, with the first woman. I would unscientifically guess that 70% of this story is the hero and heroine bemoaning their losses. They both have reason to, hero missing his first love and the utter devastation the English caused in the Highlands after the failed Jacobite rebellion (no specific history mentioned, except for Culloden referenced, it felt weirdly like the author was trying to give us the emotions from this without giving a solid focus on it) and the heroine had a miscarriage (not a spoiler, told pretty soon).

I'm going to put this next part in spoiler quotes because if you know the outcome, it might ruin some reading enjoyment.

There is a sort of secondary romance where the hero's fiancée starts to become attracted to his brother, because he is at least decent to her. However, after completely misleading the reader it turns out the brother does not like the fiancée, at all. I wanted to scream to the heaven's "WHAT WAS THE POINT?" The portrayal of the fiancée was so mean, lol. She's only 17 and naïve but holy guacamole is the hero mean to her, the heroine says she's a friend but bangs her fiancée and kind of talks smack about her, and then the guy who she thinks likes her, is like no way jose. So mean.

(show spoiler)



Basically, I found the hero mean, too many long hero and heroine inner sad musings, and the impediments to their relationship weren't resolved until waaaaay late in the story; I spent most the time wondering where the romance was in this romance. Also, there was a hero with his first love flashback in the EPILOGUE. Like, no. I get this was supposed to be emotional reminiscing about lost loves because of society and war but for me, it badly missed the mark.

40%

Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms) - Julia London

And then he'd kissed her. He'd kissed her ardently, like a man who was not afraid for her to know that he wanted all of her.

Freebie Alert!

Books 1,2, & 3 from Elaine Levine's Red Team series are FREE right now on Amazon Link!
Get Yourself Some!

 

Surprise Blitz! The Playboy Bachelor by Rachel Van Dyken #Giveaway

 

 

 

 

THE PLAYBOY BACHELOR

by Rachel Van Dyken

The Bachelors of Arizona, #2

April 11, 2017

Forever

eBook: $4.99 USD

Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2o5XmKC

 

She's no Sleeping Beauty. And he's definitely no prince . . .

 

Margot McCleery could have lived her whole life without seeing Bentley Wellington again—her ex-best friend and the poster boy for Hot, Rich Man-Whores everywhere. But Margot's whiskey-augmented grandmother "buys" Bentley at a charity bachelor auction, and now suddenly he's at her door. Impossibly charming. Impossibly sexy. And still a complete and utter jackass.

 

Bentley's just been coerced by his grandfather to spend the next thirty days charming and romancing the reclusive red-haired beauty who hates him. The woman he abandoned when she needed him the most. Bentley knows just as much about romance as he knows about love—nothing. But the more time he spends with Margot, the more he realizes that "just friends" will never be enough. Now all he has to do is convince her to trust him with her heart . . .

 

 

 

 

 

BUY THE BOOK HERE!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2nPUtzP

 

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/2om2Lgi

 

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iBooks: http://apple.co/2pmuzB8

 

Google: http://bit.ly/2mTqMyo

 

 

Excerpt:

“I’m writing a kissing scene!” she blurted, mentally kicking herself for screaming it in his face. “And the guy’s a complete jackass. Since my only experience with jackasses is you…” Her voice was shaky, just like her body. Could he tell how much she wanted him? How much she hated that her response was this—raw. “I-I figured you were the only one who could show me what it’s like.” Good one, Margot. Do you really have to sound so…desperate?

“What what’s like?”

“A kiss. From a jackass.”

“Got the jackass part.” He treaded water and then grabbed her by the arm and pulled her deeper into the pool until they were on the opposite end, his body pressed against hers. At least his eyes were still locked on her face. “And you’ve never been kissed?”

She rolled her eyes. “Not by someone like—”

“If you keep insulting me, this kiss won’t ever happen, Red.”

“Don’t call me that,” Margot whispered. Was she so weak that she’d forgive his abandonment for one kiss? “Please?”

“This kiss.” His calculated gaze didn’t make her feel any better about the situation. “How long does it need to be? How deep? Where do you want my hands?”

Margot’s mouth dropped open. “That’s not how kisses work! You can’t just map out the kiss. That takes all the romance out of it!”

“Oh, so you want romance?”

“Yes! No! I mean. I didn’t say that!” Her face flamed, and she sagged in defeat. Admitting she wanted romance kind of felt like she was on the losing end of the little battles they’d been having, like she was giving him an in. And if he got in, he’d only hurt her again.

“I was joking,” he said, just before his lips brushed hers. His tongue slid across her bottom lip and then sucked it for a few seconds before he slid it into her mouth and deepened the kiss.

Her lips softened beneath his gentle coaxing, and his hard thighs pressed against hers as a deep hunger awakened within her.

Oh, this was bad.

So bad.

And very, very good at the same time.

 

 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rachel Van Dyken is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult, Regency, and contemporary romances. When she's not writing you can find her drinking coffee at Starbucks and plotting her next book while watching The Bachelor. She keeps her home in Idaho with her husband, son, and their snoring boxer, Sir Winston Churchill. She loves to hear from readers!

 

Website: http://bit.ly/2djDuzm

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Twitter: http://bit.ly/2d1YlW5

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Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2dge8mZ

 

THE BACHELORS OF ARIZONA SERIES

The Bachelor Auction, #1

The Playboy Bachelor, #2

 

Series Page on Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2nLI77V

 

 

Once a Courtesan by Liana LeFey

Once a Courtesan (Once Wicked) - Liana LeFey

Second in the Once Wicked series, this story focuses on Jacqueline, the headmistress of a school that secretly takes in girls saved from brothels and helps create new lives for them. As the purpose of the school deals with sex and child exploitation, along with Jacqueline's abusive past, this story had more of a solemn tone. I have to say, the beginning of this and first half was very slow going. I would almost categorize this as fiction with some mystery instead of romance. The author calmly and steadily integrated us into Jacqueline's mission of running the school and Will's job of infiltrating the school and investigating it, but separately. Our main couple had met and deemed each other attractive but they didn't really intertwine until almost halfway through. The last 40% of the story picked up and things moved very quickly in regards to the mystery and danger from the villain. All in all, I felt the author stretched out and spent too much time on characters' inner musings while not connecting our hero and heroine sooner; a lot of the story was not what I came here for.

Full review can be read at: Reading Between the Wines book club

Copy a Romance Cover

Hard-Hearted Highlander (The Highland Grooms) - Julia London
Oh the delusions of grandeur I had about this one. Unlike green, purple is my color. I immediately thought of my beautiful off the shoulder purple dress. Forgetting I have a linebacker for a dog, I didn't try it on him before we went on our walk to take this picture. I pull, yanked, and tugged (all with people walking by, watching) but alas, this was the farthest I could get it past his shoulders. 
We're counting the facial expression as a win again :/