Review: Wait (Bleeding Stars) by A.L. Jackson

My Thoughts

A beautifully written story about broken hearts
and unshakable longing, about second chances and
third chances and a whispered hope for a happily ever after.
Intensely felt on every level, Edie and Austin’s story will own you.

5stars

Synopsis

WaitShe is his strength and he is her weakness. And this time he won’t let her go.

Edie Evans is gorgeous.
Sexy.
Kind.
She’s also the definition of off-limits.
But that didn’t stop me from sneaking into her room to comfort her at night.

But guys like me? We destroy everything, so it should have been no surprise when I destroyed us, too.
The night I sent her running, I thought I’d never see her again.
Until I saw her standing like a vision in the crowd.

Austin Stone is dangerous.
Alluring.
Tempting.
He broke my heart and I refused to give him the chance to do it again.

It’s been years since I’ve seen him, and now I can’t do anything but stare at the gorgeous, tattooed man playing onstage. I should run. I know I should. But like a fool, I run straight back to him.

Our desire is overpowering.
Our need unrelenting.

She is my hope.
He is my weakness.
We should have known a passion this intense would burn us right into the ground.

My Review

Every A.L. Jackson story bleeds emotion—every word, every page felt deeply. Her poetic writing style adds impact to a narrative already heartbreaking, gut wrenching. Every moment laced with longing and desire.

Wait is no different, and in fact, I felt Edie and Austin’s story more acutely than those of recent memory. Theirs is a story shaped by brokenness, tragedy, loneliness and an impossible grief. They both wait for the pain to recede, they wait for a time when their heart can feel at ease, at peace. But only together do they find respite. And although their story begins in their youth, their connection strengthened by a shared hurt, a shared hope, four years apart have left them existing without really living.

“I’ll wait. I’ve been waiting for you forever.”

Edie had shared a secret with Austin. A secret which cut deeply and scarred permanently. A secret he was supposed to keep but instead one he tossed out there, like it meant nothing, when it meant everything.

And so Austin had shattered her, crushed every dream and promise they’d shared for a life in which maybe things wouldn’t hurt quite as much.

Four years later, fate brought them together again, opening wounds that had never healed and stirring up feelings that had never burnt out.

“I’m so fucking sorry, Edie. I know I wrecked it. That I wrecked us. For the last four years, I’ve woken up every single day regretting it. Gone to sleep wishing I could take it back. But right here… with me… this is where you’re supposed to be. Where you’ve always belonged.”

History had a way of repeating itself, however, and in fits of rage and surging emotions, the same mistakes would threaten the fragile hope of reconciliation.

Both Edie and Austin have individual stories that will wreck you. Austin’s burden was impossibly heavy and he had to find his own way through his pain, his past. Edie had been torn apart by moments that would continue to haunt her until she could find some kind of resolution.

Their story is just so heartbreaking, but also beautiful because of what they mean to each other. Together they find some semblance of peace and happiness, and a hope for a life no longer defined by pain.

Their story will own you. Absolutely beautifully written and deeply felt.

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Review: Drowning to Breathe (#2, Bleeding Stars) by A.L. Jackson

Intensely sexy and heartfelt.
A great conclusion to Shea and Baz’s tumultuous romance.
4halfstars

Synopsis

The danger in pretending is it becoming real…

Sebastian Stone, Sunder front man and guitarist with a rap sheet about ten miles long, escaped to Savannah, Georgia, to get away from the trouble he’d caused.

Not find more of it.

The moment he saw Shea Bentley, he saw beneath all her sweet and innocence to something that went deeper.

Darker.

Their relationship was built on secrets; their love built on lies.

Sebastian never imagined how deep her secrets went.

When the past and present collide, Sebastian and Shea find themselves fighting for a future neither believed they deserved. Their passion is consuming and their need unending.

Now, holding the truth in his hands, Sebastian is faced with sacrificing everything he’s come to love to protect Shea and his family.

Two pasts intertwined.

Two lives bound.

Will their demons drown them or will Shea and Sebastian finally learn to breathe?

My Review

A.L. Jackson is one of my favorite authors. I love the way her words bleed emotion, the way her stories make your heart ache. This latest release proves it once again. She delivers the conclusion of Baz and Shea’s story with intensity, as hearts are bared open and betrayal runs deep.

“Do you really think you don’t know me, Sebastian? Do you really think you don’t know every single thing that counts?”

Sebastian feels his relationship with Shea has been a lie. But without her, he’s a shell—desolate and heartbroken, needing her despite it all.

Shea, too, is broken. With her daughter and Sebastian gone, her world blurs in chaos, complication and pain.

Baz finally reacts, however, and helps Shea fight Martin to win Kallie back.

“… they were worth everything. I’d give up anything and everything to protect them.”

Drowning to Breathe centers around Baz and Shea opening up completely to each other… past and present. Much of the plot revolves around their fight to get Kallie, with suspenseful notes woven in when it comes to Martin and his shady actions. We see their lives twine even tighter and tension escalates on every level.

All in all, sexiness, suspense and emotion blend together to deliver a conclusion that is satisfying and well-earned. Lots of moments of tenderness with a wonderful epilogue that will have you feeling even happier.

“And here I stood, covered in all Shea’s light, cloaked in her darkness, lost beneath the surface where she became the air. Drowning to Breathe.”

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Reading Order

 drowning to breathe bleeding stars

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Review: Come To Me Recklessly (#3, Closer to You) by A.L. Jackson

My Thoughts

A gripping, emotional, beautifully written second chance romance.

5stars

Synopsis

come to me recklesslyHis heart was turned off…

Until she turned him on…

Christopher Moore gave up on the idea of love years ago. Now, his life is an endless string of parties and an even longer string of girls. Enjoying the physical perks with none of the emotional mess, hes convinced everyone that hes satisfied—everyone but himself.

Samantha Schultz has moved on with her life. Finishing her student teaching and living with her boyfriend, shes deluded herself into believing shes content. But there is one boy she never forgot—her first love—and she keeps the memory of him locked up tight. She will never allow any man to break her the way Christopher did.

When Christopher’s sister and her family move into a new neighborhood, Christopher is completely unprepared to find Samantha living at the end of the street. Memories and unspent desires send them on collision course of sex, lies, and lust. But when guilt and fear send Samantha running, Christopher will have to fight for what has always been his.

My Review

“What does it take to delete the past? A thousand apologies?
A million regrets?
A litany of prayers?
If I shouted them, would you hear? If I whispered them, would you believe? If I fell at your feet, would you forgive? If I asked, would you start again?”

A.L. Jackson concludes the emotional Closer to You series with Christopher’s story… a story which is rife with regret, misunderstandings, pain and an almost unbearable, aching, soul-deep desire. It’s a moving second chance romance about two people who loved each other deeply, but whose love shattered in the aftermath of tragedy. As always, I love A.L. Jackson’s lyrical style, her heartfelt words, the emotion she evokes. Her romances seem larger than life, but in her trademark approach, she first breaks our heart before she can repair it beautifully.

“From the moment we met, he always had the power to bring me to my knees. I should have known his control over me would never diminish or dim. I should have known it would only intensify. Maybe I should have run. But somewhere inside, I knew he’d never let me get far.”

Christopher and Samantha had made promises to each other that were supposed to last a lifetime. As teenagers, whispered words of love and forever had painted a bright and happy future. Christopher was there for her during a time when she felt caged by her family, during a time when her younger brother fought for his own life. But when Jared Holt’s life spun out of control, his best friend Christopher felt lost as a result. His entire world turned upside down as his emotions raged between sadness and anger, pushing him to make mistakes he could never take back… Unfortunately Sam was there to witness and experience those mistakes. They cut her deeply. As a result, hearts lay broken in the wake of the chaos.

“Ashes. That’s what had remained after he was finished with me the first time. After he’d promised me forever.”

Years passed and destiny made a play bringing Sam back into Christopher’s life. Anger resurfaces and feelings feel raw and fresh all over again. Everything is different, yet familiar emotions surge as both struggle to suppress the inescapable longing they feel for each other.

“Fire and light. Heaven and hell. The most exquisite kind of torture. And I couldn’t see. Could only feel.”

Their story is all about finding their way back together, but only if they can face their pasts and figure out what—and whom—truly makes them happy. I love that we get to see Aly and Jared all over again, seeing their happy lives continue. The novel is deeply emotional, sexy and heart wrenching. And if you love A.L. Jackson’s work, you’ll undoubtedly be again swept up in her words that deliver all the feels.

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Reading Order and Links

Come To Me Recklessly can be read as a standalone.

 

About A.L. Jackson

IMG_0618TUA.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled and When We Collide.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

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Review: A Stone In The Sea (#1, Bleeding Stars) by A.L. Jackson

My Thoughts

All the feels you’ve come to expect from A.L. Jackson, but with edgier, unexpected plot turns to deepen the experience.
It’s sexy, heart wrenching and a must-read.

5stars

Synopsis

Feb-23

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she’s helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

My Review

I love getting lost in A.L. Jackson’s impeccable, lyrical writing. Her stories are rife with love and heartache, bleeding emotion in a way that you can’t help but connect with. This novel, the first in a new series, marks Jackson’s return to self-publishing and is her first foray into rock star romance territory. Despite being one of my very favorite all-time authors, I was curious to how she would breathe new life into a story whose protagonist lived under the the spotlight, behind the always-snapping clicks of camera lenses. And boy, did she did deliver. A Stone in the Sea truly centered on the love story between two individuals with secrets that had torn them down, with pasts that delivered brutal heartache.

“It’s time you stood up for yourself and took some time to deal with what’s going on inside of you. Because if you don’t? You’re going to end up losing everything that’s important to you and there won’t be a damned thing in this world I can do to stop it.”

Sebastian Stone’s life was falling apart… again. His life had been marked by loss and heartbreak, his days filled with the worry of responsibility. The stage was the only place he felt alive and free, and now, that freedom was being threatened. Sebastian was fiercely loyal, and his protectiveness over his younger brother had brought him to blows with a man determined to tear him down. With an impending lawsuit, he was at risk to lose it all. So he and the band are sent to Savannah, Georgia, to hide away and decompress. To have some time for Sebastian (Baz) to figure out his life.

For Shea Bentley, she had come back to Savannah to escape her past, to start over and build a life rich with happiness and love. She didn’t have time for distractions. She didn’t have time to date. Working at her Uncle Charlie’s bar gave her plenty of opportunity, but she needed to keep focused. When she met a stranger, Baz, sitting in a dark corner of the bar, a odd and unlikely connection flared to life, a trepidation for what this stranger could unsettle.

Baz and Shea are both selfless, but tortured souls, wrestling with secrets and past mistakes that keep them from living their lives to the fullest. For Baz, he was quickly taken with this girl, but he knew he would be leaving… returning to an ugly reality defined by problems and lies and constant scrutiny. For Shea, she didn’t need to feel desire for a man like Baz, who would surely prove to be the most dangerous of distractions.

“Maybe that’s why I was here, because I could feel her own turmoil, something deep and dark, just like me, something hard and tainted that was searching for freedom.”

Their coming together is reluctant, but intense. These two people would gradually break down barriers, learning kernels of truth about who they were. It was bad news from the beginning, but it was also something neither could push away.

“I was falling farther, sucked beneath the surface. A stone in the sea. Completely drowning in this man.”

For Baz, she was a reprieve from the agony of his own life. From the problems that consumed him. From the guilt. From the pain.

“… she made me feel different when I was with her, like maybe not every single thing in this world was bad.”

For Shea, Sebastian was the promise of everything she had dared to dream, but knew she couldn’t have.

“I was wanting things I couldn’t have, simple dreams crushed before they ever had the chance to take flight, even though they’d somehow taken root, burrowed deep where the dark, forbidden things in my world were stored like a burden, a closet full of dressed up skeletons that would forever grieve what was never meant to be.”

This is a story twisted by secrets. Secrets that could destroy them both, destroy the love they found in each other, the hope they wanted to nourish. Jackson’s lyrical writing sweeps you into the story, evoking so much feeling as I connected with and felt for our two protagonists. There were happy moments, super sexy moments, heart wrenching moments that all mixed together beautifully to give us a great story that kept me engaged from beginning to end. And speaking of endings, Jackson concludes this first book with plot twists (plural!) I never saw coming! I love it when a book surprises in a way that can shift the direction of the story in such an unexpected way. Now, I can only hope June comes quickly!

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About A.L. Jackson

IMG_0618TUA.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled and When We Collide.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

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