Title: Drowning to Breathe
Series: Bleeding Stars #2
Author: A.L. Jackson
Release Date: AVAILABLE NOW!!
SYNOPSIS:The danger in pretending is it becoming real...Sebastian Stone, Sunder front man and guitarist with a rap sheet about ten miles long, escaped to Savannah, Georgia, to get away from the trouble he’d caused.Not find more of it.The moment he saw Shea Bentley, he saw beneath all her sweet and innocence to something that went deeper.Darker.Their relationship was built on secrets; their love built on lies.Sebastian never imagined how deep her secrets went.When the past and present collide, Sebastian and Shea find themselves fighting for a future neither believed they deserved. Their passion is consuming and their need unending.Now, holding the truth in his hands, Sebastian is faced with sacrificing everything he’s come to love to protect Shea and his family.Two pasts intertwined.Two lives bound.Will their demons drown them or will Shea and Sebastian finally learn to breathe?Drowning to BreatheA Bleeding Stars Novel, Book 2PURCHASE HERE:
Drowning to Breathe was like walking through a maze where every turn is another dead end. Once one hurdle is cleared, another rises in it's wake. Baz and Shea's road to happily ever after seems bleak right from the start. The story picks up right where the heart-stopping cliffhanger of A Stone in the Sea left off. It's an emotional roller coaster, a tumultuous uphill road for this couple paved with uncertainty and heartbreak. Amidst the most trying time in their lives, facing the fight to end all fights, Sebastian and Shea face the past in the hopes of having a future together.
A.L. Jackson's writing in this story is beautiful. She weaves flawless prose together with a spellbinding plot to deliver a perfectly imperfect love story where a rock star meets a small town girl and their lives are changed forever. The journey in this book is painful and frustrating and ridden with angst. But it's a journey so so worth taking. The flashbacks to Shea's adolescence were brutal, adding another emotionally taxing layer to this story. Why Shea is who she is, how she became the Shea that Sebastian loves, and everything that happened in between... all those questions are answered. Shea has never had it easy in life and it really made me want good things for her, the happily ever after with Sebastian that they both deserved. But the angst and drama in this book is never-ending and my stomach remained in knots the whole way through wondering how they could actually get there.
A.L. Jackson is a fantastic writer and this book is angsty and fraught with dramatic twists and turns but it's also unbelievably romantic and sexy. Bombs are dropped, promises are made, secrets unearthed, and two characters face the biggest obstacles of their lives within these pages. It's an unbelievably intense story, Jackson intricately weaving together a jaw-dropping plot, magnetic characters and raw gut-churning emotion. With that said, I admit that there were large expanses of time where I felt completely gripped by the story, but moments where I felt there was an exorbitant amount of inner monologue and I grew distracted and restless. I do believe that had more to do with my own life distractions and less with the book itself, but there were periods of disconnect nonetheless. Something about Sebastian's dialogue gave me pause as well. His excessive lack of pronoun use, his relaxed rocker-guy slang, worked while he was speaking aloud, but when consistently used throughout all of his inner monologue, it made it feel unnatural and forced. Either way, this book is worth the read, especially after the epic cliffhanger of A Stone in the Sea. This isn't an easy book to read, it's emotionally charged and is more somber than sensual. But I'm a firm believer that, in life and love, you have to take the bad with the good, and that a happily ever after is always sweeter when the road there is peppered with pain.
My heart slammed around in my chest and my sight narrowed on one singular goal.
It felt like a lifetime to get to her house, and there was nothing stopping me now. Unlocking her front door, I charged up the stairs. I didn’t pause at her bedroom door. I threw it open. I needed to get to her.
With her back to me, Shea was curled around a pillow on the center of her bed. She startled with the sudden intrusion and jerked up to sitting. Caramel eyes blinked at me through the dim light, confusion and hurt and sorrow.
Motionless, I stood in the doorway as the silence hovered over all our uncertainties.
On all the questions.
But Shea was right.
None of that mattered.
And this was enough.
“Shea.” My voice broke on her name.
I took a step inside and latched the door shut behind me.
Shea’s chin quivered, and she lifted it because I knew this girl wanted to be brave. I knew she was playing through a million scenarios. Mentally going through all the ways I was going to let her go. How I was going to let her down. I knew the words she expected to spill from my mouth because for too long I’d been a coward and a fool, thinking sacrifice was the only way to make this right.
Because every time I turned around, I lost someone I loved.
Not this time.
I swallowed hard. “You want to know what I see when I look at you?”
When the intensity in my voice hit her, Shea choked out a tiny sob.
I took one step closer as I began to speak. “I see someone who’s so fucking sweet and kind that every time I look at her it just about knocks me from my feet, because I’ve had so much bad in my life I don’t know how to stand in her presence. I see someone who I know I don’t deserve, so every time I turn around, I’m runnin’ scared because I’m terrified of ruining everything she is.”
Slowly, I approached her, and she watched me in the shadows. Her hands trembled in her lap as I neared.
“I see someone who deserves the greatest kind of joy.”
Another step closer, and Shea crept toward the side of the bed. She drew a single leg up to her chest. Clinging to it as if it could protect her from any more pain. Everything she felt and wanted and feared was exposed in the expression on her face.
I stopped at the edge of the bed and dropped to my knees.
A small cry escaped her mouth.
Reaching out, I gripped her face in my hands, my fingers burrowing in soft, soft hair.
“I see someone, who even though there’s not a chance in this world I could ever be good enough to have her…good enough to hold her…that’s all I want to do. I see someone I want to protect and love and fight for.”
Tears streamed down her cheeks. She edged even closer and let her legs slip over the side.
I settled myself between her knees and met the storm in her eyes.
“I see beauty and light.”
Those eyes flashed, and emotion crushed my ribs. This girl had me twisted up in every way possible.
Shea gasped when I grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to me. I shifted so I sat on the floor with my back propped against the bed.
Shea was straddling my lap.
Warmth enveloped me. Her heart was pounding, all tucked up against me, right where she belonged.
Her skin felt so soft. Mine lit on fire.
She searched my face and I kept on.
“I see the most fucking gorgeous girl I’ve ever had the pleasure to lay my eyes on.” My voice dropped as I leaned up so I could brush my mouth across her ear. “The pleasure to touch.”
A shiver rolled through her, and I gathered one of her hands between us, threading our fingers. I studied them as I struggled to form the words.
I lifted my gaze and spoke with the most honesty I’d ever allowed myself.
“When I look at you, I see a future I never thought existed, Shea.”
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance.
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.
Connect with A.L. Jackson online: www.aljacksonauthor.com
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