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: Come to Me Softly (#2, Closer to You) by A.L. Jackson

My Thoughts

A turmoil of destructive emotions. A raging torment of buried feelings. A story of a love and healing. It was an intense and heartfelt conclusion, beautifully written in A.L. Jackson’s lyrical style.

5stars

Synopsis

come to me softlyA second chance at life…
A second chance at love…

Jared Holt never thought he deserved either—until he found both in the arms of Aly Moore. Aly has loved Jared for as long as she can remember, and she’s more than ready for the future they’re making together. But Jared can’t help remembering his own family. And he’ll never forgive himself for what happened to them. How can he allow himself the very happiness he once destroyed?

To live a life worthy of Aly, Jared knows he has to stop running and finally put his past to rest. But when he decides to face his demons head on, he encounters more than he bargained for: a dangerous mix of jealousy, lies, and dishonest intentions. When those intentions threaten Aly, Jared loses all control, giving into the rage that earned him his bad boy reputation years before. And he’ll fight to protect her no matter.

My Review

“You need to stop pretending that past didn’t happen. One of these days you’re going to have to face it.”

This story has been one where I’ve really felt the pain of our tortured hero. A fact that came as no surprise as A.L. Jackson consistently delivers stories with the power to make me feel everything so completely. You feel it all. The pain. The sadness. The guilt. The hope that wants to desperately break through but is just too heavy with heartache to take flight. Jared Holt had relented to the dark side of himself for too long, and finding Aly again brought unexpected light and love. Feelings he never thought he would have, of which he didn’t think he was worthy. This sequel is really all about acceptance. Jared must finally make the choice to live or to die an emotional death, tethered to his past and defined by pain. He’s at a precipice — at the brink of losing it all or gaining a life he never dreamed possible.

“Jared had spent his life running from his past. But he returned because somehow, through all of that, he’d seen a future with me. I chose to believe in him because I knew no other truth. I chose to believe in his love, as fragile as it was. I chose to believe he would be strong enough to face all the demons darkening the goodness of his spirit, the ones that shown as the horrors imprinted on his skin and manifested as tremors that shook him in the night.”

Jared Holt comes back to Aly, realizing that his life, however volatile, is one that cannot be lived without her at his side. The future they face is paved with uncertainty, and Jared’s fear and guilt threaten at every turn. But I love that he chose to stay. Chose to fight. Chose to put in the work to build this scary, uncertain future together with the woman he loved, heart and soul.

“I was in love with this girl. And I wasn’t going to let her go. Not ever. Days without Aly were darkness, and I was done surrendering to it.”

Jared and Aly’s story has always felt intense. Explosive. There were times, however, in this second book that we got to see Jared driven by hope and determination. Happy. I momentarily felt the weight lift from my own shoulders as I relished in how he began to build a life for his family. Creating beauty from destruction. Something good from the chaos.

“It seemed impossible one woman could make me feel this way, that one girl held my heart with a single string. The one that connected us, this unseen bond that wound us so fucking tight sometimes it felt like it was squeezing the life right out of me. Like I couldn’t breathe. But really, it was that I couldn’t breathe without her.”

Despite the joy that infiltrated their lives, there was turmoil they couldn’t avoid. Truths needed to be revealed before they could move forward, but with Jared’s emotions constantly flaring, you couldn’t help but feel that something was coming with the power to shatter everything to pieces. The story had a sense of foreboding that kept my heart pounding, waiting for the moment where everything he built would splinter into pieces that couldn’t be put back together.

“I love you more than I could ever tell you. And I’m scared because I feel you slipping away. Every day it feels like another piece of you is stolen from me and one day I’m going to lose you. I can feel it, Jared. All the hurt you keep hidden inside is going to wreck you. Wreck us.”

I absolutely loved Aly’s strength. Her resolve. Her commitment to Jared. No one knows Jared like Aly, but despite her small pushes, there was a part of him she couldn’t reach. She knew that Jared had to make peace with his past in order to find happiness. Only then could she appease the hurt, dispel feelings of unworthiness… help alleviate the pain still painted all over his skin and the fury reflecting in his eyes. I also loved that she was able to let Jared know that having pieces of him was no longer good enough, she wanted it all for their family. And sometimes, it’s those lines we draw that can hold the most power, forcing realization pound through, but sometimes it can be the soft blow that breaks everything apart.

“Shame twisted through me on a gale-forced wind, flashes of my mother’s face, what I had done. They all clashed in a violent fury against the love I’d found in this life, in the light that was Aly.”

Jared’s story is confusion and chaos, pain and guilt, shame and deflection. It is explosive. It builds. It’s the quiet before it all erupts with the emotions he’s kept buried. And let me tell you that the moment the fury is unleashed and feelings boil over, consuming everything and everyone in its path, it hurt. I felt my heart shatter. Hope implode. And suddenly everything felt very uncertain.

“But I’d felt this coming. A storm brewing in the distance, a steady build of destructive energy, a force that could not be contained. Tonight was the culmination of it all. I just never expected how vicious it would be.”

This has been an amazing series from A.L. Jackson. Her writing has never been tighter. More beautiful. More powerful. Every word was felt, every scene delivered perfectly. Her lyrical style always makes me feel like I’m caught up in a moving wave of moments. The words are constantly in motion, the feelings she incites always fluid as you experience her unforgettable stories. I loved everything about this conclusion. It brought me to tears and I hope you are as affected as I was by Jared and Aly’s story.

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

Come To Me Quietly | Come To Me Softly | Book 3 (title TBD – Cristopher’s story)

come to me quietly_front come to me softly

About A.L. Jackson

amy jacksonA.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 PulledWhen We Collide, and If Forever Comes.

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.

 

 

 

 

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Review: Come To Me Quietly (#1, Closer To You) by A.L. Jackson

My Thoughts

Intensely passionate, intimate, emotional and simply breathtaking.
Every single word… every single moment… every ounce of soul-deep pain coursed through my heart and became my own as I experienced this powerful story. It’s a visceral experience in emotion crafted in the uniquely beautiful way that only A.L. Jackson can deliver.

6stars

Synopsis

come to me quietly_frontAleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.

Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

My Review

Every time I finish a book by A.L. Jackson, I have to actively work to try and get myself together… to recover from the emotional experience of her stories. Somehow she’s able to reach inside me and touch my heart and soul with the kind of story that never lets me go. Her stories are so piercing, so powerful, that to say I felt every moment is a severe understatement. It’s moving beyond feeling, into being. She’s able to make her character’s pain, be my pain. Their heartbreak, be my own. And the hope she inevitably pervades to dull the ache of a shattered heart, and in this case , even a shattered soul, is the hope that I desperately grasp onto as I experience her stories viscerally. This might be her best work to date. The story is infused with a spectrum of emotions resulting from heartache, hopelessness, guilt, tragedy and a first love that has yearned to be realized over the course of many years. Come To Me Quietly is a story about finding a way to live through the kind of pain that breaks you, about finding a reason to live and trusting that love can heal even the most tortured souls.

“Uncontrolled chaos. That’s exactly how they described me. The desert sky goes on forever, an ocean of the deepest blue. The city rises like a beacon in the distance. Because I am drawn… There is nothing here for me. I know it. I’ve already destroyed it all. I destroy everything I touch.”

Jared Holt lives in agony. He’s been gone from home for six years trying to numb the pain, trying to forget the actions that ruined everything. He sins are inked all over his body, reminding him that he doesn’t deserve happiness. Doesn’t deserve to feel. Women. Drugs. It’s all been a means to an end. A way to avoid feeling. In his mind, his penance is life long, meaning the only life he deserves is an empty one bereft of all love, family and forgiveness. He finds himself riding back to Phoenix without explanation, back to the place that beckons him… the same place where his life fell apart. When he unexpectedly runs into his childhood best friend, Christopher, he begins to flirt with the most perilous of circumstances, facing the very people that are able to trigger the most profound pain. Nonetheless, an unexpected sense of contentment arises at seeing his friend and his younger sister, Aleena (who is now 20 years old).

Christopher, Aly and Jared were inseparable as kids. Jared particularly looked after Aly, never leaving her behind, always protecting her. They were close. Their families were close. And the bond they nurtured over time seemed unbreakable. But one day everything changed and Jared was not the same… none of them were. An unspeakable tragedy sent him away and kept him afar for six years. When Jared left, Aleena’s heart shattered and nothing was ever the same.

“Jared Holt… the name was enough to knock the breath from my lungs… When I looked back now, I wondered how it was possible for a heart to be broken at fourteen. But my heart had, because it’d broken for him… My feelings for Jared had haunted me, left this hollowed-out place deep inside me. I’d held on to that remnant of pain for so long, until it faded and transformed and became this mystery that inhabited the deepest recesses of my mind. A shadow of a memory. The mention of his name ignited it, basking it in light and bringing it to life again.”

So when Aly finds out that Christopher invited Jared to stay at their apartment, everything that was once dormant blazed to life once more. When she sees him for the first time in so many years, she can hardly take a breath. He’s the most beautiful man she’s ever seen. Every part of his muscular body is covered in tattoos, his sharp blue eyes intense. Aly worked to reconcile the memories of her Jared with the gorgeous man before her, inked in the very pain that flowed beneath his skin. But the joy and desire that surged quickly abated when he pushed her away.

“I was smart enough to recognize when I was on dangerous ground. Everything about him was dangerous. Just as dangerous as he was beautiful. I’d witnessed firsthand the destruction that was Jared Holt.”

Despite the rocky re-acquaintance, their friendship began to emerge again as Jared awoke feelings in Aly she hadn’t felt before and Aly, in turn, provided some much needed comfort to Jared. Jared had been alone for so long, and suddenly she was there again… caring about him, worrying about him. Before long, Jared and Aly began seeing each other behind closed doors, re-connecting in the safety of the darkness… simply talking, sharing, feeling.

“Why he felt the need to sneak into my room, I didn’t really know. But it was like he got it, too. The time we spent together felt like something that was our own, a secret shared between friends as the trust between us grew. I’d come to expect him just as much as he seemed to expect me, and a slow trust had begun to build between us. We’d talk for hours about nothing and everything. I’d glide along the banks of his sadness, dipping my toes to test the water, but without ever diving into the torrent where I knew Jared continued to drown.”

Their relationship is tumultuous. We realize Aly has loved him since the beginning, but did he feel the same? What does he feel now? Despite his warning to not get attached, she desires him. Desires his love. Desires to ease his guilt… his pain. But as the pain within him ebbs and flows, recedes and spikes, his behavior vacillates as he turns from hot to cold one moment to the next. Aly can’t make sense of how he feels as she tries to hold on to any piece he’s willing to give her. She’s so afraid he’ll run again.

“You think I can’t feel this? How badly you want the things I can’t give you? That’s why it makes me sick that I’m doing this, because I already warned you… you can’t fix me, and you can’t say or do something that will change my mind or fill up the void in my soul.”

Both Jared and Aleena harbor painful secrets that threaten to create a rift between them. This is a story about tragedy, forgiveness and acceptance, about finding the will and the courage to move beyond a past defined by pain. I cannot recommend this book highly enough. It’s absolutely beautiful, each word infused with so much emotion. It’s powerful and brilliant and perfectly written to wring out every ounce of feeling. Words do not suffice in conveying how much this story touched me, as A.L. Jackson’s books inevitably always do. There’s a reason she is one of my favorite authors and it’s stories like these that will forever stay with me, rising above the rest as the shining beacon to the power rhetoric can wield.

“Our eyes met, almost hesitantly, the reflection like this illusion of us that went on forever. Infinite. Something like torment filled his eyes. He buried his nose in my hair behind my ear and whispered his praise. “Aleena.”

And I loved him.

I loved him with everything that I had.”

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Reading Order and Purchase Links

Come To Me Quietly | Come To Me Softly | Book 3 (title TBD – Cristopher’s story)

come to me quietly_front come to me softly

About A.L. Jackson

amy jacksonA.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, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.

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.

Look for Come to Me Softly, book two in the Closer To You Series, coming July 1, 2014

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt: Come to Me Softly (#2, Closer to You) by A.L. Jackson

come to me softly

I am so incredibly excited to share the stunning cover of Come to Me Softly
by one of my favorite authors, A.L. Jackson. This is the second book in the
Closer to You series, which is Jared and Aleena’s story.

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Come to Me Softly

#2, Closer to You
Release Date:  Summer 2014

From the New York Times bestselling author of Come to Me Quietly comes a scorching new adult romance in the Closer to You series.

A second chance at life…
A second chance at love…

Jared Holt never thought he deserved either—until he found both in the arms of Aly Moore. Aly has loved Jared for as long as she can remember, and she’s more than ready for the future they’re making together. But Jared can’t help remembering his own family. And he’ll never forgive himself for what happened to them. How can he allow himself the very happiness he once destroyed?

To live a life worthy of Aly, Jared knows he has to stop running and finally put his past to rest. But when he decides to face his demons head on, he encounters more than he bargained for: a dangerous mix of jealousy, lies, and dishonest intentions. When those intentions threaten Aly, Jared loses all control, giving into the rage that earned him his bad boy reputation years before. And he’ll fight to protect her no matter what it costs…even if he destroys himself in the process.

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Excerpt

I gasped when strong. arms wrapped around me from behind. Then I melted when he buried his face in my neck. Jared spun me around and pressed me up against the cool metal of my car door. His hands were on my face, in my hair, slipping down my sides before he brought them back up to force me to look at him. “Thank you.” Desperation poured from him, his hold increasing as he stared down at the shock I felt lining my face. “Thank you for fucking believing in me, Aly. For getting me.”

Fear lashed across his face. Or maybe it was remorse. He swallowed hard, his voice hardened with strain. “I’m scared to think of where I’d be right now without you.”

That fear that had flashed on his face coiled in my stomach. Because I didn’t know where he’d been. Had no idea where the last three months had taken him. How far. How low.

I wasn’t sure I wanted to know.

“You’re here with me now.” I had to believe that was all that mattered.

He grimaced. Gripping my face, he leaned down and kissed me, hard and demanding. There was no soft affection, none of the playfulness from upstairs. This was a seal. A branding. He jerked back. A storm raged in the blue of his eyes. “Don’t think I can’t see all those questions burning in your mind, Aly. And I may not have all the answers right now, but we are going to figure this out. Do you understand me? I promise you that.”

And I saw it all there, the torment that plagued Jared, this beautiful man who had lost his way, the one desperate to find his way home.

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Join us for the Come To Me Softly Cover Reveal Party happening all day today! A.L. will be hanging out talking books, boys, and giving away a ton of special prizes from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm MST! Join the Party HERE!!

 

About A.L. Jackson

amy jacksonA.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, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes. 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.

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Giveaway

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Come to Me Quietly

#1, Closer to You
Release Date: January 7, 2014

Come to ME Quietly

Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.

Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain. Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.

Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.

Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.

 

Related Reads: