Memories of Us is almost here! I am so excited for you to read Hunter’s story. This book is full of song lyrics, emotions, and some glances at Rebel Desire. Hunter is an up-and-coming songwriter in Nashville, but he left his heart with the one person that has the power to heal it or break it. Read below for the blurb + exclusive excerpt!
The life I’m living was supposed to be ours, not just mine, and without her it means nothing.
I couldn’t climb on stage and sing to a crowd, knowing the one person my songs were meant for was miles away from me. Writing songs about her is the best I can do until she comes back because I know we’re not over. We’re just on pause, like your favorite song when you need a moment to take it in. But as soon as I find her, I’m pressing play on our love story.
Preorder available on Amazon, iBooks, Nook, and Kobo
“I need to start by saying that I don’t need you to free me from guilt. I don’t need some kind of permission to move on.” My head turns to the left to look at him. “The guilt I live with is put on myself for being an idiot. No apology is enough, Kenzie.” He shakes his head, keeping his gaze in front of him as well. He’s in his own world as he speaks to me.
“I live with the self-hatred day in and day out, just trying to survive. I write songs about you, about us, trying to preserve what we had. As if doing so would freeze time and I’d wake up one morning to your tapping on my bedroom window. Remember when you used to do that?” He shakes his head to clear the memory. I remember it as if it were this morning I did it. I’ve always been a morning person, so I’d go to his house and wake him up by tapping his window. Then, I’d spend hours helping him around the farm.
Hunter’s chest rises as he clears his throat. “We had so much going for us. I loved you so damn much. I still do, and whether we ever get a second chance or not, I’ll never stop. It’s impossible to.” His eyes seek mine and on cue I turn my head to meet him. I take a sharp inhale as I see the red rim around his eyes.
“I hope you understand that. I’ll never stop. It’s you or no one. I fucked up. I’m not perfect, even if you thought I was. I’ve been going crazy not knowing where you are. I tried finding you everywhere, but no one knew or wouldn’t spill your location. If you think I’ve moved on, you’re wrong. Because this,” he grips his chest, “left with you.”
“You broke my heart… in a way I never expected.”
“Trust me, I broke my own as well.”
I swallow back the tears that want to escape. I just need to wait to cry when I’m locked in my apartment.
“Maybe we were always meant to follow this destiny. We’re different people. Realistically, how many young people stay with the same person, especially through so many changes. Maybe we were never meant to last.” I shrug, focusing again on the patches of grass.
“You don’t mean that.”
I nod silently.
“Damn it, Mackenzie. Look at me. Look at me.” His body shakes next to mine. “We were always meant to beat the odds. You know it. We would talk about it for hours.”
“It’s different now. Maybe we saved ourselves from greater heartache.” I finally turn to look at him, water blurring my vision but I refuse to let the tears fall. Not yet. “It would’ve hurt more if we had started to live the life we planned and realized it was wrong.”
“Bullshit. There’s no greater heartache than this and I know you feel it, too. You don’t believe this.”
I suck in air and release it just a fast. Nodding, I stand. “I’m sorry, Hunter. I gotta get goin’.”
I am so excited to share the cover for the final book in the Rebel Desire Series! The cover is perfect to show the emotions between Jason and Cassidy Rae. I absolutely love this story, and it was great developing Jason further, especially after his take on relationships in books 1 and 2. You can read about the book here: SYNOPSIS
Preorder is available on Amazon! You can reserve your copy today and start reading as soon as it goes LIVE on May 2nd! Preorder ALL OF YOU!
What do you think?! I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section! Keep going below for a few teasers and the FULL cover.
But first, a FREEBIE! Lovin’ on You, book 1 in the series, is free through 4/7! Love You Through It, book 2, is ONLY $1.99 for a limited time! Grab both copies here and meet the guys from Rebel Desire! #OneClick— https://amzn.to/2GBbi7U
Hope you love this cover as much as I do, and I can’t wait for you to read the story!
Spring is almost here and we are celebrating early! I have teamed up with my friends, Rachel Blaufeld and Christy Pastore, to bring you this amazing giveaway. You could be the lucky winner of a $75 Amazon gift card. Talk about book money! Good luck to the participants!
What rollercoaster ride! Let me start by saying a huge thanks to all the bloggers who are participating in the release blitz, all the people who accepted an early copy of this book to review, and the readers who’ve sent me such loving and encouraging messages and share their excitement for this book with me, and patiently waiting for it to release.
Love You Through It was written in the summer and I waited to release it so I could give it the attention it deserves. Some days I wanted to hit publish on a random Wednesday because the wait was harder on me than you.
This story was born out of one of my biggest fears—losing the man you love. Call it a self-healing journey along with writing this emotional and powerful story. I almost didn’t finish it. I was 25,000 words in last spring and I left it alone, convinced this would be one of the many story ideas I’d shelf for years to come without an ending.
Until I saw a cover for it. I was writing another book at the time, and I bought a cover for Love You Through It, knowing that then I would have to finish it. I would have to push through my own issues, put myself through an emotional ringer.
And I am so happy I did.
Bri is strong, having experienced something tragic and dealt with it the best way she could. Cole is persistent and patient, offering the woman he’s cared about for years the support she needed. My biggest lesson writing this is that it is possible to open your heart again after you’ve lost the man you love.
What a lesson.
That took some time to sink in. However, I couldn’t think of a better man for Bri than Cole. Together they both find love and a second chance.
Porn: Man sees woman, undresses her (with hands, not eyes), and they instantly engage in sexual acts. No names, no story behind their meeting or relationship. It’s raw and dirty. (I think this is how it works, I haven’t exactly watched porn. Did I just admit that to the internet?)
The stigma associated with romance novels (and their writers) is a continuous clash between those who know the difference and those who think they know the difference. Many people truly don’t know the difference. So I’m here today, as part of the hundreds of people who have already discussed this topic, to hopefully clarify some misconceptions about romance novels.
Romance, noun: a (1) : a medieval tale based on legend, chivalric love and adventure, or the supernatural (2) : a prose narrative treating imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usually heroic, adventurous, or mysterious (3) : a love story especially in the form of a novel
b : a class of such literature
I grabbed this definition from Merriam-Webster. As you can read, romance is a love tale that involves events, chivalry, adventure, etc. in the process of finding that person who you want to spend your life with. Romance is about the happily ever after, not just the happy ending. (wink, wink)
We all hope to find that special someone in real life. I know I do. The person you can laugh and cry with. The person to hold you tightly, and the person you push away when you’re angry. It’s all part of romance. Like any true love story (real or fiction), sexuality is a part of it. Say what?! I know, I know; how dare I speak of such things in public? But that’s just it. We live in a world where we are fighting to become more open and accepting of the truth we live, and having sex is normal.
I understand it’s been a taboo topic in the past. I know romance novels have been looked down on with snooty noses as not good enough literature, allowing people to look away instead of being educated on the topic. The thing is that everyone desires to be wanted. Everyone desires to have a connection with another person. That is what romance is about—the bond between two humans, who find in each other a connection that allows them to grow and move forward together.
It isn’t all about the sex. That’s porn. They’re very different. Porn wants to excite the viewer/reader quickly to get the job done (again—wink, wink). Romance is about the journey—the tale of coming together, overcoming struggles, and living your life with another person.
Now, let me tell you how our society works. Sex sells. A lot. So when we bring in marketing (for romance or anything else), sex is a big factor. Considering romance novels, most times, do include some kind of sexual activity, teasers and excerpts may be geared towards that because it hooks readers. It does raise emotion, entices them, and makes them want more. We’re human after all.
Just because something has a sex-geared advertisement doesn’t constitute it as porn. Let’s take a perfume commercial for example (oh, those can be hot!). A lot of perfume commercials entice the viewer with a good-looking man, a woman in lingerie, or a couple engaging in a steamy kiss. Does that mean the perfume company sells porn? What it does is sell the product. It hooks consumers. That’s their ultimate goal.
Nicholas Sparks has sex in his novels. Does that make him a writer of porn? You have sex in your life with your partner. Are you a porn star? (Role playing idea?)
When I first started writing romance, I was hesitant to answer people’s questions about the genre I wrote. I would think to myself, Oh God, they’re going to know I write sex in my stories. Yet, I love writing romance. I love writing about the bond between people, their struggles (this is my favorite—it shows their true character), and having balance in life. So little by little, I became more comfortable telling people who knew me before I was a published author that I wrote romance. (My mom was the hardest. Like, Mom, I wrote sex into my story. I still remember the day I told her I wrote a book, and it was explicit. Kill me now! She’s probably reading this. Hey, Mom!) I had that stigma attached to me until I said, fuck it, and owned it. Now, I giggle when people mix up the true romance meaning with that of porn. I don’t get offended; I get it.
I strive on making my stories about more than just the romance. I add topics that sometimes are difficult to read about, and other times I add humor and good nature. It’s a balance, or I’ll sink into this dark oblivion of heavy emotions. Regardless of the tone of my novels, I want to get a message across, so when people think I write porn it defeats the purpose of trying to convey this meaningful message. It also confirms that sex sells, because if what you remember most about my novels is the teaser you saw about some heavy kissing, then I’ve left a memorable (whether it was my intention or not) hook in you. Now to reel you in and catch your full attention. (Horrible fishing symbolism—I promise I can write better symbolism than that.)
I get that society, as sex-driven as it is, also scolds people for being so open about their sexuality. Again, many people don’t know the difference, come across a teaser about a man running his hands down a woman’s bare hip before cupping her behind, and think the story is sex-driven. There is so much more to romance novels, and I hope that each of us that know about it can continue to educate people on the difference because it is such a wonderful genre to get lost in.
We watch romance movies and don’t think twice about questioning if we will be watching porn. We eagerly schedule a girls’ night to watch the latest Rom-Com whilst drinking a glass of wine, yet doubt the morality of romance novels.
I ask that you don’t let the label of what people think the romance genre is to limit you from reading some fantastic literature. I have read novels that have stayed with me for years. Romance novels are real, raw, sweet, and flirty. They encompass so much life. As humans, we want to feel intimacy with another person. Romance is that. It’s the story of intimacy, trust, and opening our hearts.
With the way the world is nowadays, I’m glad I have a Kindle full of romance novels to show me hope. To prove to me love still exists, because if we, as writers, can come up with stories about love, then love must still be alive, right?
Ultimately, that’s what romance is about. It’s about love, the journey to get there, the strength it takes to overcome loss when love goes awry, and the power of relationships (friendships and more).
I’ll raise my glass to all of you romance readers and writers, for believing in love. I’ll raise it to all of you who are not familiar with it and hope you’ll indulge a bit in this beautiful community. While I’m at it, let’s be open to all types of romances and love stories. Romeo and Juliet is a classic tragedy that still remains very much alive in our world, and they ended up dead. (Spoiler alert)
In all seriousness though, I do hope we can come to an understanding about the essence of romance. I hope this helped to better understand the difference between romance and plain ole sex in a written form. May we all live a life full of love, intimacy, trust, and strength, like my favorite heroes, and not shy away from a topic that is human nature.
It’s hard to come from Twisted in You, which is a story I’ve waited years to tell (I think before I ever decided to write novels). I wasn’t sure what to write. I started on Bri’s story (Love You Through It), and it felt forced. Cash and Olivia were still too much in me to give Bri her own voice despite the VERY different tones in their books.
For me, Twisted in You was my ultimate goal. So I questioned if this was it. Is this where I close out my publishing life? Publishing this book was always my light at the end of the tunnel. That book is THE book for me. How can any other after it be justified?
I’ll be honest, it’s not the first time I question my publishing path. It’s hard out there, guys. I just want to share words. I want to create word art and express myself in a way that feels comfortable. Words are that for me. They always have been. Whatever shit I was dealing through, I’d write it. Death? Write a poem. Done. Anger? Write a letter to the person. Relief. Abuse? Put yourself in the perpetrator’s place. Compassion & understanding. Love? Write another poem. Acceptance that happy endings exist.
I won’t say writing was always a channel of expression for me, because it wasn’t. It took thirteen years to become aware of this gift. As a child I rejected reading and writing. (Joke’s on me, huh?) But damn, if it didn’t save my life multiple times. You all know how the story goes.
Part of my life purpose is to help others heal. I’m aware of this, and it’s a path I’ve been working towards, finding my balanced footing on it. Writing is my way of doing that, whether it be fiction, blogging, or submitting articles to other sites. Because of this, I don’t know that I’ll ever fully be able to stop publishing. But, after Twisted in You was out in the world, I struggled with what to work on. What part of me was I ready to share next?
So I went back to where it all began—my teen years. One beta reader (who is a friend and knows me pretty well) sent me a text message the other day that said, “You are soooo Luna.” Yes, she sent that many O’s. And she was right. I am a Luna, because I am every character I write. I am the teen poet, using her words to express what she does not yet understand, or what she is not quite ready to share with the world verbally.
I went back to the girl who was shy, felt like an outcast with peers, and was so dead-set that there is more out there than the crap we deal with at times. I went back to my teen years because those were hard. And while I didn’t have a Carter, I had a brother like Becket and sometimes I took him for granted (He also slept with his basketball. AND I already dedicated a book to him, so we’re even, right?).
There was born Beneath the Stars. I’ve wanted to write a young adult for some time, and the story blossomed. There’s romance, mistakes (lots of them), confusion (even more so than mistakes), and hope. We have a girl who is trying to find her place in a space that she may not fit in. We have a boy whom she secretly crushes over finally pay her attention. We have a connection that bonds them and mistakes that tear them apart. We have a story of the confusion teen years bring, the struggles and monotony of them. So when I felt like I was done, I went back. I went to the beginning of my writing life and wrote who I was then. To a certain extent, obviously. I wish a cute basketball player was fighting for my attention back then (or now, because basketball players are cute!). 😉
I am excited to share this story and the person Luna is. I include poetry in this book, so I was able to have my own creative expression, as well as novel writing. Poetry was my first love and helped heal so much of my past. I’m glad to be able to incorporate it into a story.
Read the synopsis here:
Quiet poet, observer, emotional teen. That’s me, Luna Gardner. When my lifelong crush, Carter, finally makes a move, it seems like I’m living out one of my poems. But like my writing, emotions are high and endings can be brutal.
One decision makes a mess out of everything. Being a teen isn’t supposed to be this complicated. No amount of poetry will fix the damage I’ve done. So, beneath the stars I get lost in the words and hope I can write a better outcome to my reality.
I am so grateful for this gift, and never do I take it for granted. When one person sends a message thanking me for a story that resonated with them, or for sharing something that is barely spoken about, my heart is full. My job is done. I want words to give people hope, heal the past, and know that HEA exists in all aspects of the word
because ultimately, when we are in love with ourselves, we are able to be in love with others and allow others to be in love with us. Romance has always been a part of history, and what a way to celebrate and share it. Words are healing, whether we are reading or writing them. SO again, thank you for allowing me to do this. ❤
Three years ago I published my first novel. In 2009, I wrote one of those Facebook Notes that were the craze back then—25 Random Facts About Me. The fifth fact was: I want to publish a book sometime in my life. I’ve told the story before—bucket list item I wanted to check off. However, it always seems unreachable. Two reasons why: 1. Up until that point, I had only written poetry and a few shorter stories. Dialogue and elaborating a plot were, in my mind, not my thing. 2. How was I going to get a publisher? All I wanted was to write a book to share and move on. It seemed impossible.
I was living in Spain during this time and shoved the idea to the back of my mind’s bookshelf, focusing on my work there and my college degree when I was back home.
Fast forward a few years, and I still had a story idea I began in 2009 running through my mind. Needless to say, I opened that file and began what is now PERFECTLY IMPERFECT with no idea how to publish.
It has been a unique journey these last three years, meeting new people (many I call friends now), learning the ever-changing ropes in this business (I am less business person, more creative), finding my voice in a world where many times we are encouraged to stay silent as to not stir society’s pot. My books are not liked by everyone, and I am perfectly okay with that. Writing is a part of my personal journey, a skill I use to express myself.
I never thought I would be okay with sharing my writing with anyone, let alone an entire audience. I’ll tell you one thing, publishing my first book is one of the most empowering things I’ve done. I went against my self-preservation tactic, against my comfort zone, ripped off my security blanket and shared pieces of myself to a world willing to know me. If that isn’t scary, I don’t know what is. I am a quiet observer in this community, in this world really, and turning the role of the observed on myself has been an interesting experience.
It has made me vulnerable, open, and accepting of myself. Writing novels, publishing them, has made me look at my reflection and learn more about who I am. When I write, I get into a sort of zone. Many times I don’t remember what I write. When I go back to re-read and prepare for edits, it’s as if I’m seeing myself for the first time. Every book is different; the mood is set according to my experiences and emotions at that moment in my life. I’ve always said writing is my form of therapy. It’s why I began in the first place—a safe way to express my emotions without the world judging me for feeling certain things.
So as I approach my third year of being a published author, I reflect on my experiences. I confess, more than once I have considered no longer publishing my work. I have two amazing friends to thank for staying in the game. It’s not always easy, especially for an introvert who bleeds onto pages to then be judged. I get it, it’s part of the package deal. The irony does not go unnoticed.
I’ve learned to not take things personally (read #15 in that FB note), and understand that people’s judgment of my work is their perception. Perception is everything in life. How we live and what we experience will influence our thoughts and emotions. If I can provoke emotion (positive or negative) through my writing, my job as a writer is complete. Reading is about feeling things, stirring things we have long buried within us, and travel to different places and be someone we may not dare explore in real life. I know when I read I want a book that stirs me. A book that leaves me feeling stagnant does nothing for my growth.
So although quitting this business has crossed my mind more times than I care to admit, you, my readers, keep me going. It’s your notes, messages, words of encouragement that remind me why I decided to share my words in the first place. This is a way for me to allow the world to know me, and for the opportunity and hope that you read my words and soak them up. I hope that you resonate with my writing in one way or another (for the good and bad), and can take a piece of it with you wherever you go.
Thank you for three of the best years of my life. For the opportunity to follow my passion and share it with you. Thank you for allowing me to be myself and share my voice when it can be so scary to do so. What turned into a fun challenge became so much more, and without any of you to share it with, this experience would have less meaning.