Review: Chasing Abby (#4, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

My Thoughts

Beautiful and heartfelt.
A must-read for fans of the Shattered Hearts series.

5stars

Synopsis

chasing-abby-by-cassia-leoFive years, six months, eight days….

It’s been eighteen years since Abigail was born with a hole in her heart. Five years since she collapsed on the soccer field. Five years, six months, eight days since she found out she was adopted.

Abby has spent five years wondering about the family she never knew and waiting for her eighteenth birthday. When Abby shows up on the doorstep of Chris and Claire Knight, her birth parents are overjoyed to see the little girl they lost eighteen years ago.

One summer is all they have to make up for the years they lost. But when opposing ideals collide, a summer of love soon turns into a summer of heartache.

My Review

I’ll be honest. I wasn’t sure if I needed to read this book. I loved the Shattered Hearts series deeply. I shed tears with those characters. Loved those characters. Felt their pain, their heartache, their love and their loss. I just wasn’t convinced I need another book. I know some of you feel the same. But I’m here to convince you to read it. Because if you’ve loved Chris and Claire’s story, this book—Abby’s story—is a must read. It fills a hole I didn’t realize I still had. Completes a story that was left unfinished. Now that I’ve read it, and shed more tears, and realized just how much I needed it, how much I loved it, I can’t imagine their story… their happily ever after without this final, wonderful, heart-wrenching piece. It may even be my favorite of the entire series. It’s that good. Abby’s story doesn’t only belong to her. It belongs to the Knights. To the Jensens. To Caleb (whom you’ll meet and fall in love with). And to so many others who shared in Claire and Chris’ heartache when their baby was given up for adoption. When amidst tears, and as their hearts broke all over again, they said goodbye to their first baby girl. Eighteen years later, Abby shows up at the Knights and everything changes once more.

“For eighteen years, I was the sickly, fragile daughter of Brian and Lynette Jensen. Now… I don’t know who I am.”

Abby grew up with a broken heart. Minutes old, she was rushed to surgery. Surgery after surgery and medication after medication, Abby lived her life muted in fear of damaging her heart permanently and dying. Her boyfriend Caleb was always at her side. He knew her like no other and together, they grew up and fell in love, deeper each day. We see the tense dynamic between Abby and her parents. It’s clear they love her, but their fear of losing their only daughter has consumed their every thought and action, curbing Abby’s freedom to the point of resentment. When Abby learns of her adoptive family, she decides to wait on reaching out. What would the experience of meeting her biological parents be like? Why would they give her up? How could they?

But one night her father’s words pierce deeper than intended, and she finds herself at the Knights door.

“Hope: The biggest four-letter word in the English language. It’s bigger than despair. Bigger than resentment. Bigger than skepticism. Four letters that, when combined, can hold a broken heart together for eighteen years.”

This story is expertly imparted through multiple point of views, buttressing the statement I made above… Abby’s story belongs to so many. Her life means so much to many people and we see their hearts react, their thoughts process, their actions speak as the story continues to unfold. I can tell you that from this point forward, my tears fell unabashedly as all the feelings from the other books flooded my senses. The story morphed into unadulterated, raw feeling. It was all emotion and I felt my heart balancing on a razor’s edge as the story continued to take turns I didn’t expect.

Abby’s inner turmoil struggles with who she is, who she wants to be, who her parents want her to be. Her sense of self is adrift, but somehow, with the Knights, she feels wanted and treasured and a certain freedom she needed so badly.

“When I’m with my biological parents, I don’t feel like the frail girl I was eight weeks ago. I’m different. I’m the girl who got away. The girl who was strong enough to capture my parents’ hearts in a single twenty-minute meeting and hold them captive for eighteen years.

That’s the girl I want to be. I don’t want to be fragile anymore.”

At one point, I can say I felt shocked and breathless and utterly heartbroken. This girl goes through so much, but the beautiful thing is that despite living a life full of questions and doubts and sickness and an incessant need to belong at a soul-deep kind of level, one fact remained clear. Abby was so loved. So wanted.

Her story is one of love and loss, forgiveness and acceptance, belonging and family, heartache and heart-fullness. It’s about second chances and surviving the impossible. It’s about feeling broken, but learning to fly. And it was beautiful. Beautifully penned, beautifully evocative, and beautifully concluded. Cassia Leo does an amazing job with this finale to Claire and Chris’ story as all the pieces of their happily ever after fit together finally and forever. It was simply wonderful and I loved every moment.

“You can be anything you want to be now. Chase your dreams, Abby.”

Reading Order and Links

Chasing Abby must be read after Relentless, Pieces of You and Bring Me Home.

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My Reviews: Relentless | Pieces of You | Bring Me Home

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About Cassia

cassia-leo-cropped

New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading.

She believes in true love and happy endings, and that the most palpable regrets come from watching those two things slip away. Her favorite books and movies are the ones that challenge her mentally and leave her emotionally scarred. Her family has declared her a “method writer” because she gets “in character” while writing. She believes becoming the character is the only way to truly understand him or her. Her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills.

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Exclusive Excerpt + Signed Giveaway: Chasing Abby by Cassia Leo

Chasing-Abby

I have loved the Shattered Hearts series dearly. There’s an emotional gravity to it, a realness that seeped into my heart early on and entrenched itself deeply as I continued reading more of the story. Now, we finally get to know Abby’s story… Chris and Claire’s daughter… the baby they gave up so long ago. I just finished the book this morning and it was so beautiful… so heartfelt… an emotional story of acceptance, forgiveness, love and loss. It’s a must-read for fans of the Shattered Hearts series. I’m honored to share an excerpt from Chasing Abby, which is now available.

Get Chasing Abby: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes ✦

Synopsis

chasing-abby-by-cassia-leoThe heart-stopping conclusion to the New York Times and USA Today best selling series.

Five years, six months, eight days….

It’s been eighteen years since Abigail was born with a hole in her heart. Five years since she collapsed on the soccer field. Five years, six months, eight days since she found out she was adopted.

Abby has spent five years wondering about the family she never knew and waiting for her eighteenth birthday. When Abby shows up on the doorstep of Chris and Claire Knight, her birth parents are overjoyed to see the little girl they lost eighteen years ago.

One summer is all they have to make up for the years they lost. But a summer of love soon turns into a summer of heartache.

Chapter Nine

abby

Two months after

I KNOW THAT, technically, I’m doing nothing wrong. I’m an adult. I have the right to decide where I want to spend the night. But lying to my parents always makes me anxious. Still, I don’t think it’s the lie that’s got me so worked up. I’m afraid to spend the night with Caleb.

I shouldn’t be afraid of spending the night with him. We’re not going to have sex. At least, I don’t think we are.

“So Amy is going to keep her ringer on all night in case they call, right?” Caleb asks as we drive toward the apartment he shares with his roommate, Greg Lawson.

I’ve hung out with Greg plenty of times and he’s agreed to spend the night at his girlfriend’s house to give us some privacy. But I can’t help but feel weird about this whole thing. Even knowing that this will be our apartment soon.

Greg graduated from UNC Chapel Hill two years ago. He was the only person Caleb found who was willing to take a chance on a seventeen-year-old roommate after Caleb’s dad died last year. Caleb absolutely did not want to get placed in foster care at his age. He asked for more hours at the tire shop where he works to bring in some more cash, and he’s been living with Greg ever since. Until Greg gets married and moves out in July. Then, Caleb and I have agreed we’ll take over the lease.

Caleb and I are going to live together.

It feels surreal as he turns left off Stanhope, into College Crest. College Crest is a neighborhood just east of NC State and Meredith College, mostly inhabited by college-age residents. Greg took over the lease on this apartment when his friend from NC State moved to Seattle after graduation. Two years on, and now Caleb and I will be assuming the lease. It’s hard to find a vacant apartment in College Crest.

“Yes, Amy is going to keep her phone on and she’s going to answer,” I reply, sliding my right hand between the seat and the passenger door to hide it as I wiggle my fingers. I run the fingers of my left hand through my hair to disguise the same action. I don’t want Caleb to know how terrified I am right now.

He reaches across and grabs my hand out of my hair as he turns into the parking lot on Stanhope. “Are you panicking?”

He rubs his thumb over the top of my hand and I close my eyes as I draw in a large breath.

“A little.”

He pulls his car into an empty space near the back of the lot, but he doesn’t turn off the engine. “We don’t have to do this. I’ll take you home right now and you can decide what you want to do later… Or now. You can tell me right now if you don’t want to live here. I’ll find another roommate… Or I’ll give you this apartment and find another place.”

“Caleb, stop. We’ve discussed this. I’m not taking this apartment without you, and I’m not going to try to find another roommate. No one else will understand me the way you do.” I look down at his hand in mine and smile. “I’m going to live with you. Nothing else makes sense.” I look up and he’s not smiling. “But that doesn’t mean I’m not really nervous about tonight.”

“Abby, you don’t have to be nervous. I’ll sleep in Greg’s room and you can sleep in mine. It will be like sleeping in your own bed, only it’ll smell much better.”

I shake my head as I reach for the door handle. “You always know what to say to make me feel so much better.”

We enter the apartment and, after he drops my backpack on top of the kitchen table, Caleb heads straight for the refrigerator. “I stocked up on Cheerwine for you,” he calls to me as I take a seat on the navy-blue sofa where Caleb and I have made out a thousand times.

He comes out of the kitchen with a can of Cheerwine, my favorite cherry soda, and a bottle of drinkable yogurt for himself. Caleb is addicted to drinkable yogurt, and not the fruity kind. He drinks the plain stuff, which I find disgusting. But he claims it gives him super powers.

He sits next to me, handing me the soda and offering me a sip of his yogurt. He smiles when I shake my head. “You’re missing out.” He grabs the TV remote off the coffee table and turns on the DVR. “I even recorded your favorite show,” he says, scrolling through a long list of episodes of Congressional Chronicle on C-Span.

I open my Cheerwine and take my shoes off so I can curl my feet up on the sofa. “You really are the perfect roommate.”

He puts on a romantic comedy movie he obviously recorded for me, then he sets the remote down on the table. “Tonight is your night, angel-face.”

“Angel-face?”

He guzzles the last drops of yogurt and places the empty bottle on the table. “Do you prefer sunshine?”

I take a large gulp of soda and place the can on the table, then I lie back with my head in Caleb’s lap. “Let’s mix it up. How about… turtledove?”

“Turtledove it is.”

He runs his fingers through my hair as we watch the movie and I don’t notice I’ve fallen asleep until I wake up in Caleb’s arms as he carries me to his bedroom.

“I can walk,” I mutter groggily.

“It’s fine. This totally makes up for the fact that I didn’t get to work out today.”

He lays me down on the bed and I’m fully awake now. “I have to get ready for bed,” I say, sitting up immediately.

Caleb holds up his hand to stop me. “I’ll get your stuff.”

He returns a moment later with my backpack. “I know you take a shower before you go to bed. I’ll just go… out there until you’re done.”

“Wait.”

He looks at me with that hopeful look in his eyes and my entire body is buzzing with anxiety. “Can you turn on the water in the shower for me?”

He smiles and nods for me to follow him. We enter the small bathroom and the first thing I think is that it desperately needs some new decor. The plastic shower curtain is covered in squiggly blue lines that are meant to resemble waves. But in between each line, there’s nothing. It’s just clear plastic. And the shower curtain liner behind it is also clear. Not very private.

I put down the toilet seat and the lid and Caleb smiles. “I knew I forgot something. Damn toilet seat gets me every time.”

The nice thing about being an only child is that I’ve never had to share my bathroom. Our small three-bedroom, two-bath house in Raleigh is just big enough for our family. My dad never goes in my bathroom, so I’ve never had the pleasure of accidentally sitting down on a toilet while the seat is still up. But every time I’ve visited Caleb’s apartment over the past ten months, I always find the toilet seat up. It’s not a big deal, but it’s one of those classic reminders of the things that happen when a male and female share a living space.

“Just don’t let it happen again, buttercup,” I reply, setting my backpack on the closed lid of the toilet as Caleb squeezes in next to me and pushes the shower curtain open.

“Turn it to the left to turn it on,” he says, turning on the water in the shower. “Wait a little while until it gets hot, then turn it back to the right if you want it cooler or to the left if you want it hotter. But be careful, it gets really hot. Greg rigged the water heater to go full throttle.”

“Full throttle?” I say, pulling my shampoo, conditioner, and body wash out of my backpack. “I’m going to make sure to tell my parents we went full throttle in the shower.”

He spins around and his eyes are wide with surprise. “Turtledove, I’m shocked.”

I laugh as I pull my pajamas out of my backpack and set them down on the bathroom counter. “Get out.”

After a long shower, my muscles are warm and relaxed. I enter Caleb’s bedroom and find the lamp on, but he’s not here. I set my backpack on the floor and head for the living room. He’s laid out on the sofa watching a political satire show on the comedy channel. He watches me as I approach, then I lie down on top of him, nuzzling my head into the crook of his neck.

“You smell like sunshine,” he whispers, planting a soft kiss on the top of my head.

“We can do this, right?”

He knows I’m referring to living together, so he doesn’t skip a beat with his reply. “We can do anything you want.”

I lie still for a moment, listening to the beat of his heart beneath me. “I want to go to sleep… with you… roomie.”

After Caleb showers and we settle into his freshly laundered sheets, I sneak back into his nook and he holds me until I fall asleep. When I wake seven hours later, I’m surprised to find neither of us has changed positions. My face is still mashed against his neck and his hand is still wrapped loosely around my shoulders. It’s almost as if God is trying to tell us something. “See, Abby. You’re still you and Caleb is still Caleb. Everything is going to be just fine.”

✦✦✦

WE PICK UP AMY at nine a.m., as planned, then we have breakfast at McDonald’s before we head back to my house. Caleb and I have breakfast on Saturdays quite often, and he drives me everywhere, so my mom won’t suspect anything when we show up in his car. They won’t know that Caleb and I just did a trial run on our soon-to-be new living situation and everything went great. They won’t know that I’m about to say good-bye.

My dad is in the backyard, the sound of the hedge trimmer buzzing. My mom is in the kitchen doing the breakfast dishes. Caleb, Amy, and I enter and I grab a towel to dry the dishes that are already in the rack. I dry the first plate then hand it to Caleb for him to put away.

“What are you doing today, Mom?”

She casts me that suspicious sideways glance that tells me she knows I’m up to something. “I’m going to lunch with your Aunt Maddie. What are you three doing?”

Amy opens the refrigerator and grabs the pitcher of cold water. I hand her a glass tumbler I just dried and she heads to the dining table with the glass and the entire pitcher of water.

“We’re thinking of going to Jockey’s Ridge,” I reply, taking the clean skillet from my mom.

“Jockey’s Ridge again? You graduated eight days ago and you’re already repeating your summer outings. Why don’t you all go to the movies or something?”

“That’s a great idea!” I say as I hang the skillet up on the pot rack above the tiny kitchen island. “But… I have something I need to talk to you about first. Well, Caleb and I have something we need to talk to you about.”

My mom finishes drying off her hands on a clean towel then turns around. “What do you have to talk to me about?”

“We kind of wanted to talk to you and Dad.”

She looks at me like I’m crazy. “Abigail, is this something serious? What is going on here?”

“I’m not pregnant or anything, if that’s what you’re thinking.”

She lets out a huge sigh and shakes her head. “Jesus, Abby. You scared the heck out of me. Your dad will be done soon.”

We all retire to the living room to watch some TV while we wait for my dad. My mom puts on the Animal Planet and I know Caleb is dying to make a smart comment. Every time we sit down to watch TV with my mom, she always puts on the Animal Planet. It’s almost as if she thinks this is the only safe channel to watch with us. Caleb thought he was so clever when he bought my mom an Animal Planet Explorer lifetime membership for her last birthday.

My dad walks in through the front door about twenty minutes later. My leg bounces impatiently as I wait for him to wash his hands and find us in the living room. When he comes out of the kitchen, he chuckles when he sees us all sitting down together and staring straight at him.

“Is this some kind of meeting of the minds? How’d it go last night, sweetheart?”

“It was great!” I reply quickly, shooting a glance at Amy.

“It was awesome, Mr. Jensen,” Amy begins. “We went for some fro-yo, then we watched pay-per-view porn all night.”

“Amy!” my mom shrieks while Caleb and I laugh.

“Oh, sorry. Was I not supposed to tell them about that?” Amy asks with a smile.

I can always count on her to completely erase any doubt that we were together. Though, according to Amy, my parents never called her all night. My mom did call me around ten o’clock to make sure I was okay and that I’d taken my nightly meds. But other than that, my sleepover with Caleb went off without a hitch. It’s almost frightening how easy it is to lie to my parents. Maybe I can lie to them about living off-campus with Caleb.

No, I could never pull that off. The stress alone would kill me.

And speaking of stress, here goes nothing.

“Mom, Dad. Caleb and I are going to share an apartment off-campus this fall.”

“What?” my mom and dad bellow.

“That is not even funny, Abby,” my mom says, her mouth hanging open as she waits for me to tell her this is a joke.

“Your mom’s right,” my dad agrees. “The porn joke was funny, but this is not.”

“It’s not a joke!” I shout as I push up from the sofa. “I’m eighteen years old. I’m allowed to live with whomever I choose and I want to live with Caleb. He knows me better than anyone. He knows when I’m stressed. He knows when I need to take my meds. He knows how to take care of me better than any random roommate ever will.” I look at Caleb and he has his head down, but I can see a shadow of a smile on his lips. “And we love each other.”

“Was this your idea?” my dad roars.

Caleb raises his head and I’m pleased to find he looks more surprised than scared. “No, sir. This was not my idea, but Abby’s right. I can take care of her better than anyone. I’d rather have her with me where I know she’s safe.”

My dad narrows his eyes and nods his head. “Where she’s safe? Sure, that’s exactly why you want to live with her. Do you two really think I’m that stupid?”

Caleb and my mom stand from the sofa at the same time, but I speak first. “We don’t think you’re stupid, Dad. We thought you’d be more understanding.”

“You thought I’d understand that my eighteen-year-old daughter and her eighteen-year-old boyfriend want to live together?” His glare is seething with a rage I’ve never seen on my father. “You thought I’d understand that you seem determined to repeat your parents’ mistakes?”

The room is so quiet after my father speaks these words, I can almost hear the tears welling up in my eyes. Everyone in this room knows what “parents” my father is referring to. And this is the first clue about their story that I’ve ever been given. And it only saddens me more that he used this piece of information to hurt me.

“How could you say that to me?” I whisper.

“Abby, you don’t know what you’re proposing. This is bigger than just picking a roommate,” my mom says, reaching for my arm, but I push her away. “Your father’s right. Accidents happen and you’re not physically or emotionally prepared to deal with something like that. You two need to finish college first before you start a life together.”

“I’m not emotionally prepared? I’m too fragile?” I shake my head. “You two don’t know me at all. Maybe I am more like my other parents.”

“Your father didn’t mean that.”

I grab Caleb’s hand and pull him toward the front door as Amy follows behind us. “That’s okay, because I think it’s time for me to find out for myself.”

Text BOOKLOVE to 41411 to get a text alert when this book is released.

Reading Order and Links

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About Cassia

cassia-leo-cropped

New York Times bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading.

She believes in true love and happy endings, and that the most palpable regrets come from watching those two things slip away. Her favorite books and movies are the ones that challenge her mentally and leave her emotionally scarred. Her family has declared her a “method writer” because she gets “in character” while writing. She believes becoming the character is the only way to truly understand him or her. Her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills.

Facebook | Twitter | Author Website Goodreads

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt + Giveaway: Forever Ours (#0.5, Shattered Hearts) by Cassia Leo

forever ours

I have loved the Shattered Hearts series by Cassia Leo for all the emotion, the turmoil and the romance it bestowed us readers. This was a story full of heartache, but also full of hope and joy, and now, with Forever Ours, we get to see how it all began with Claire and Chris! Expected release date is April 2014. Forever Ours is a prequel, but can be read as a standalone book.

Text BOOKLOVE to 41411 to get a text alert when this book is released.

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Synopsis

Sometimes, it takes more than love to mend a shattered heart.

After eight years of being tossed around from one home to another, never forming any meaningful friendships or bonds with her foster families, Claire’s caseworker gives her an ultimatum: Behave or your next home will be a halfway house.

When fifteen-year-old Claire arrives at the home of Jackie Knight and meets Jackie’s fifteen-year-old son, tattooed guitarist Chris, she fears she’ll be seeing the inside of that halfway house soon. But Chris isn’t like any other guy Claire has ever encountered and he soon gains her trust through his music and unwavering patience.

Claire has finally found her forever home and she and Chris soon find themselves falling in love.

But Chris’s dreams of musical stardom and Claire’s need for a stable home soon put their love in jeopardy. Chris struggles deeply with his plans for the future, entirely reluctant to leave Claire behind; until Claire does something that may break their love — and the only home she’s comes to know — forever.

Excerpt

There are moments in life that you know will be burned into your memory forever. Chris calls these “movie screen moments” — where everything slows down and you know that something important is about to happen that will change the course of the story. He says that the best songs are written about movie screen moments. I don’t know if this is true. All I know is that this is one of those moments.

I can feel it in the air. And I know that when I look back, I’ll remember everything about this moment in time; the smells, the tastes, the sounds, and the touch. The touch.

Chris and I are both sitting on the carpet with our backs leaned against the sofa, our fingers woven together as MTV plays in the background. This is something we’ve done every day for the past six weeks, ever since summer break began. As soon as Jackie leaves for work in the morning, we both get up and have breakfast together. He usually makes me a bowl of cereal or I make us both some scrambled eggs. Then we hang out in the living room for a few hours until his friends come over. Sometimes, Chris plays his guitar for me. Sometimes, we sit here and pretend to watch MTV, holding hands while Mr. Miyagi lays out across both of our laps, begging to be petted. Well, I don’t know if Chris is pretending to watch MTV, but I know I am.

All I can seem to think about when I’m near Chris is whether or not this will last or if he will be just another person I have to lose. But this doesn’t stop me from enjoying these hours spent together. I’ve never been happier in all my life. Not even when my mom was alive.

I’ll admit. I was sort of hoping today would be different then all the other mornings Chris and I have hung out. Not that I don’t like this small moment of closeness we share every day. But today’s my sixteenth birthday. I guess I figured that would make today even more special for us. I was kind of hoping I might get my first kiss.

“Tristan’s coming over in half an hour and we’re going to the mall. You want to come?”

My heart sinks a little. Chris knows that Tristan and I don’t get along very well. He hasn’t even wished me a happy birthday and now he’s leaving to hang out with Tristan.

I try to let go of his hand and he tightens his grip. “What’s wrong?”

I attempt to pull my hand away again and this time he lets go. “I don’t want to go to the mall.”

“Are you okay?”

I stand up and he immediately stands with me. “I’m just tired. I think I’m gonna go back to bed.”

I take a few steps, but he grabs my hand to stop me. When I look over my shoulder at him, he’s wearing a crooked smile. “Can you take Mr. Miyagi upstairs with you?”

My shoulders slump as I turn toward Chris’s Shiba Inu where he’s lounging on the sofa.

Chris chuckles. “I’m only kidding. I’m not going anywhere with Tristan today. I’m taking you for a ride.”

“What?”

“On my bike.”

“I’m not going on that thing.”

Chris got his motorcycle license the week after he turned sixteen less than three months ago. He’s been trying to get me to ride with him on his crappy racing bike ever since the first time I let him hold my hand.

“Come on,” he pleads. “I have something I want to show you, but I want to do it alone. I don’t want to ask Tristan to take us. Please?”

I stare into his eyes for a moment and he tilts his head. His brown hair always looks calculatedly messy, the way it’s just long enough to cover his ears yet still sticks out in all the right places. His skin is so smooth; I often find myself wishing I could press my lips to his cheek just to feel the softness of his skin. And don’t even get me started on the metal stud in his tongue. The way he plays with it when he’s tuning his guitar gives me butterflies. I don’t know what Chris sees in me other than the way my hand seems to fit so perfectly in his.

He pulls me a little closer and lifts my hand to his mouth. My heart races as he lays a soft kiss on my knuckles. “Claire, it’s your birthday. And I know you probably haven’t had a whole lot of birthdays you want to remember for the rest of your life, but I want this birthday to be the one you never forget. Let me take you for a ride.”

I stare at his lips as he says these words and that’s when it happens. This is that moment; the moment where everything slows down and nothing is ever the same.

 

Reading Order, Links & Reviews

Click on cover images to purchase available books through Amazon.

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About Cassia

Cassia Leo pic_newNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo grew up in California and has lived in three different countries.

She loves to travel and her dream is to one day score a record deal based on her awesome shower singing skills.

She is the author of the Shattered Hearts series (Relentless, Pieces of You, Bring Me Home) and the Luke and Chase series.

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Giveaway

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Cover Reveal + Excerpt + Giveaway: Abandon by Cassia Leo

abandon-cover

 So excited to share with you the cover of Abandon by Cassia Leo!
For all you Shattered Hearts fans, this is Tristan and Senia’s story and it’s coming this January!

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Synopsis

Tristan never gave a shit about the girls he used and abandoned. His manwhore ways were ingrained in him from birth. His past has always been a mystery his conquests have wanted to crack, but no one has been able to… until now.

Senia has always fallen for the wrong guys, but this time she’s fallen for the worst of them. Her attempts to guard her heart from Tristan’s charms and sexual magnetism only spur on his pursuit. And soon, the electric energy between Tristan and Senia sparks a fire too wild to contain.

Now Tristan must decide if he will abandon his old ways or if he will stay true to his past and abandon Senia instead.

Note: This is a spin-off from the Shattered Hearts Series and can be read as a standalone.

 

Excerpt

CHAPTER ONE

She walks into Yogurtland with her cell phone pressed to her ear and a scowl on her face. Behind the scowl, her vulnerability shines like a fucking nuclear explosion in a dark closet. Whoever she’s talking to has stripped her bare. I find myself wishing it were me who affected her that way.

She’s digging inside her purse while balancing the phone between her shoulder and her ear; probably searching for money to get her frozen yogurt fix. What is it about frozen yogurt that makes us feel better? Maybe it reminds us of being kids, and how something as simple as a trip to the yogurt shop could turn a bad day into a great one. Whatever it is, I can see that she desperately needs some frozen yogurt. But with each passing moment that she’s unable to locate her money, I see the hope draining from her face.

“I told you to stop calling me. I don’t care if your car is in the shop. I’m not picking you up!”

She drops her purse and cell phone onto the checkered tile floor and curses loudly. “What the fuck are you staring at?!” she barks at the man who’s ogling her ass while ushering his small child out of the shop. “You’ve never seen a girl in a skirt bend over?”

She falls to her knees as she reaches for the cell phone first. She presses it to her ear and says hello a few times before she realizes there’s no one there. I walk over to her, coolly taking my time, then I kneel next to her and reach for the lipstick tube that rolled behind her left foot. I hold it out in front of her. She looks sideways at me and her mouth drops as she’s stunned into silence. Most girls are stunned when they see me. I’m used to that. But Senia has seen me plenty of times. She’s not amazed by my good looks. She’s stupefied by my impeccable timing.

Her gaze immediately falls to my lips, which are just inches from her own. Then she begins to sob as she throws her arms around my neck.

I can’t help but chuckle. “Hey, it’s okay,” I whisper into her ear as I breathe in her scent. She smells like strawberries or pineapple. Something fruity. It’s intoxicating.

I reach up and grab her face to pull her away, so I can look her in the eye. “What flavor do you want?”

A tear rolls down her face and I wipe it away as she stares at me, still dumbfounded. “Cheesecake, with strawberries.”

“Perfect.”

I help her gather the rest of her belongings into her purse then I order her yogurt as she watches me from where she stands next to the trash bin. She watches me as I approach her with her bowl of frozen yogurt, one of her perfect eyebrows cocked skeptically.

“Don’t look at me like that,” I say as I pass her the bowl of yogurt.

“Why?” she says as she pops the first spoon of creamy yogurt into her mouth.

She licks the spoon clean and I find myself wondering what it would feel like to have those full, red lips wrapped around my cock. I lean in and whisper in her ear, “Because you’re turning me on and I can’t fuck you in Yogurtland.”

She continues to cock her eyebrow as she takes another spoonful of yogurt into her mouth. “Then maybe we should get the fuck out of Yogurtland.”

*****

In the three years I’ve known Senia, we’ve almost fucked three times. The first time happened the day I met her, after a show we played in Durham. We were interrupted backstage by Xander, the band’s manager, just as Senia was about to get on her knees. The second time was at a Memorial Day picnic. We were both pretty shitfaced and she ended up tossing her cookies all over me as I was sliding her panties off. The third time happened less than three months ago, in a pub restroom stall. She started crying and couldn’t go through with it; she was too heartbroken over her ex. I think the fourth time may be the charm for us. For some reason, this makes me really fucking nervous.

I’m not afraid I won’t be able to satisfy her. There’s no doubt I’ll make her come harder than she’s ever come before. But for the first time in my life, I’m afraid of what will come after the sex.

Senia is Claire’s best friend. Even if Claire and Chris never get back together, I know she’ll always be around. Chris is my best friend. I can’t avoid Claire and, therefore, I can’t avoid Senia. Something about this terrifies me and intrigues me; like I’m flirting with danger or, more accurately, fucking with danger.

I grab the door handle on the passenger side of my silver Audi and pause as I look her in the eye and pull the door open. “Get in.”

She smiles and shakes her head as she slinks into the passenger seat. “Please don’t bother using your manners.”

“I won’t.”

I slam the door shut and walk around to the driver’s side, tapping the trunk as I note my surroundings. It’s eight in the evening. There are only three other cars in the parking lot and at least one of those belongs to the guy working behind the counter in Yogurtland. I look up at the lamppost in front of the car illuminating the hood and shining through the windshield.

I open the door and slide into the driver’s seat. Gazing into her eyes, for a moment I’m reminded of the last time my mom took me to get ice cream, when I was nine years old. I clench my jaw against the visceral nature of this memory and Senia takes this as an invitation.

She climbs into my lap and takes my face in her hands as she crushes her lips to mine. I thread my fingers into her hair and roughly grab a fistful of her dark locks. She whimpers as I thrust my tongue into her mouth and squeeze my fist around her hair, intermittently tightening my grip then easing up. Finally, I pull her head back by her hair and her eyes widen with shock and excitement. That’s when I notice her styrofoam bowl of yogurt upended between us, the cold stickiness seeping through both of our shirts.

She smiles as she swipes her finger through the cool, sticky substance and slowly eases her finger in her mouth. “Creamy,” she purrs.

“Fuck,” I whisper as my dick jumps, trying to escape my jeans.

I grab the bowl and toss it into the backseat and she smiles as I swipe my finger through the yogurt and reach under her skirt. Her thighs are smooth and warm against the back of my fingers as I move straight for her panties. She holds my gaze as I slip my fingers under the fabric and find her clit. She swallows hard as her smile melts into a look of pure ecstasy.

“Oh, my God,” she breathes as I stroke her gently.

I grab the back of her neck and pull her mouth against mine, swallowing her moans as if they were the air keeping me alive. I shove two fingers inside her and she gasps as I curve my fingers to reach her spot. Her body curls into me as I lick the soft skin below her earlobe. Abruptly, I remove my hand from her panties. Her face is incredulous as I lift her up by her waist and place her on the passenger seat.

“Get in the back.”

For a moment, it seems as if she’s questioning this abrupt request. “This better be good,” she says as she slithers between the two front seats to get into the backseat.

I reach under her skirt as she crawls into the back and I yank down on her panties. “Jesus Christ, Tristan!”

“Make up your mind,” I say as I place my hand on her ass and push her into the backseat. “Am I Jesus Christ or Tristan?”

She laughs as I scramble into the backseat after her, holding onto her panties so she’s forced to leave them behind. I quickly position myself between her legs as she lies on her back and smiles. “You can be whoever the fuck you want.”

I slide my arm under her waist and lift her up so I can place her back against the passenger side window. Pushing her skirt up, I spread her legs wide open and marvel at the sight of her. She perfectly shaved with a small landing strip of dark hair that ends at the top of her slit.

“I prefer Tristan,” I say as I flash her my crowd smile.

She whimpers like a kitten in pain, her hips writhing against me as I devour her slowly and methodically. She tastes like the frozen yogurt I smeared all over her.

“Oh, Tristan,” she moans and I hook my arms tightly around her thighs to steady her as her legs begins to tremble. “Oh, my fucking God!”

I suck gently as her clit pulsates against my tongue. She lets out a loud cry that sounds like a sigh mixed with a scream. I can’t help but smile as I continue to stimulate her until she grabs chunks of my hair and yanks me up.

“Holy shit,” she breathes as she wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me on top of her.

But she doesn’t kiss me. She just holds me there and I quickly begin to feel uncomfortable with this closeness. I begin to push away, but she tightens her grip.

“Please don’t move,” she begs, and I can hear something strange in her voice—she’s crying.

I lie still with her for a while until I no longer hear her sniffling. I slowly pull my head back to look her in the face and she quickly wipes at the moisture on her cheeks.

“I’m sorry,” she whispers.

I grab her hand and pull it away from her face. “It’s okay,” I murmur as I brush my thumb over her cheekbone.

“No, it’s not,” she says, a hard edge to her voice as her hands reach down to undo the button and zipper on my jeans. “But it will be.”

She pushes my boxers down until my dick springs free and I suck in a sharp breath as it comes in contact with her.

“I don’t have a condom.”

My shoulder-length hair hangs around my face as I hover over her. She reaches up and pushes my hair back as she pulls my mouth to hers. I groan as I try to resist making such a stupid mistake. Despite the rumors, I don’t have unprotected sex. I may be a whore like my mother, but I’m not as reckless as she is.

I try to pull my face back, but Senia holds my head still. Suddenly, I’m royally pissed off. I rip my head out of her grasp and glare at her.

“This is just a fuck. Nothing more,” I insist and her eyebrows scrunch together. A sharp pang of regret twists inside my chest. “I’m sorry.”

Why the fuck am I apologizing?

“Then shut up and fuck me,” she says as she tightens her legs around my hips and the tip of my cock presses against her opening.

I slide in slowly, watching as she closes her eyes and tilts her head back. Leaning forward, I suck on her throat as I gradually ease myself further inside her with each stroke.

“You’re tight as fuck,” I whisper as I carefully work my way deeper inside.

She doesn’t respond, so I keep thrusting, slowly at first then working my way up to a steady pace. I pull my head back to see her face and her eyes are still closed. I don’t know why, but I want to see her eyes.

“Look at me,” I command, and she opens her eyes instantly, her gaze finding mine.

Her eyes are slightly red and that’s when I notice the tear tracks running from the corners of her eyes, down her temple, and disappearing into her dark hair. A strange urge overcomes me and I lean down and kiss her temple. Licking my lips, the saltiness of her tears turn me on even more. I ease my hand behind her knee and lift her leg higher so I can thrust deeper.

She whimpers as she threads her fingers through my hair and pulls my mouth to hers. I kiss her slowly, matching the rhythm of my hips to the movement of our tongues. She bites my top lip and I feel myself getting so close to blowing my load.

“Holy shit,” I whisper as I try to pull my head back, but she holds my head still and kisses me deeply as I let go inside her.

My dick twitches as I fill her with my gushing warmth. I grunt into her mouth and she continues to kiss me, swallowing my cries the way I did hers. Finally, I tilt my head back and look her in the eye. Then I ask her a question I haven’t asked anyone since I broke up with Ashley four years ago.

“Who was that on the phone?”

 

About Cassia Leo

Cassia Leo Author Pic_newUSA Today bestselling author Cassia Leo loves her coffee, chocolate, and margaritas with salt. When she’s not writing, she spends way too much time watching old reruns of Friends and Sex and the City. When she’s not watching reruns, she’s usually enjoying the California sunshine or reading–sometimes both.

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