About Rach Lawrence

Reader, reviewer, blogger, and sometimes editor. You can contact me at rachlawrencebooks@gmail.com.

A Charm of Finches (Venery #2) by Suanne Laqueur

 

A Charm of Finches (Venery #2) by Suanne Laqueur

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5 out of 5 Stars

This is probably the most difficult review I’ve ever written. How do you proclaim love for something so heart-wrenching? When one of the characters goes through an ordeal beyond your most horrid imagination? When the story is about loneliness and despair? It feels sacrosanct to shout that this book is amazing and everyone should read it.

But really, everyone should.

A Charm of Finches delves deep into the tough subject of male rape survivors and connecting with others on a human level. This book will shred your heart and stitch it back together piece by delicate piece. The theme of loneliness and surviving—but not really living—is prevalent in all three main characters. It’s jam-packed with emotion, and the characters will stick with you long after you’ve finished their story.

We first met Javier Landes in book 1 of the Venery series, An Exaltation of Larks. If you haven’t read Larks, I highly recommend it, though it’s not strictly necessary before reading Finches. Jav has finally decided to give love a chance, and love comes in the shape of a therapist named Steffen Finch. Stef hasn’t given much thought to a relationship with a man, but the attraction between the two men is undeniable. While Jav and Stef are getting to know each other, a young man named Geno Caan is spiraling down toward rock bottom.

Geno’s life was picture perfect until he became a victim of a horrendous crime. He’s trying to survive, but the world looks like a completely different place now. It’s bad enough he lost those closest to him. Then he realizes the world doesn’t even believe his story. How can he have a life when he’s so alone?

Landing in art therapy sessions with Stef, Geno slowly begins to trust again. He forms a friendship with Jav and begins to get his life back on track, but the journey is long and full of landmines waiting silently to explode.

Ms. Laqueur has a way of reaching deep into your soul and rearranging everything you thought you knew on an elemental level. Her words are powerful and moving, and she has done justice to a subject that rarely gets spoken about. She writes therapy sessions as if she were a fly on the wall, and the pain of sexual assault is vivid even when not described in horrid detail. I felt everything her characters felt—every high and low, every heartbreak and every triumph—thanks to the imagery that put me right in the scene with them.

This is my top book for 2017, and though the subject matter isn’t pretty, everyone should read this epic tale of survival.

Please note that although I have included Romance as one of the genres for this book, it is not the main focus of the story.

All of my reviews of Ms. Laqueur’s books can be found under the author spotlight tab.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

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A Charm of Finches (Venery #2) by Suanne Laqueur – Release Day and Giveaway

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A Charm of Finches

Suanne Laqueur

From the author of An Exaltation of Larks comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series.

“I swear. Give me one more chance, and I will make the most of it.”

Ex-escort Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. The third time proves to be the charm when he meets an art therapist named Steffen Finch. What starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.

Geronimo “Geno” Caan is Stef’s most challenging case. To cope with his ordeal, he’s allowed an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions, and now lives a double life within a web of lies. Under Stef’s navigation, Geno uses art to express what he can’t yet speak aloud. But as Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually extends to Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

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Purchase Links

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Signed Copies Available

To be shipped after the November 1st release date

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Author Bio

suannelaqueur A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur has gone from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne Laqueur’sAn Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

Author Links

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Two Amazing Deals from Suanne Laqueur!

Don’t miss out on these amazing deals going on now from award-winning author Suanne Laqueur!

You can read the entire Fish Tales series for only $4.99, and it is also available in Kindle Unlimited!

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Fish Tales Series Synopsis
The Fish Tales trilogy follows the extraordinary love story of Erik “Fish” Fiskare and Marguerite “Daisy” Bianco. When they meet in college, she is an aspiring ballet dancer and he is learning the behind-the-scenes art of stagecraft. Their love affair is set at the center of a circle of friends, bound by creativity and artistry. Then a shocking act of violence on their campus tears the circle apart and leaves Erik estranged from Daisy for over ten years. The series follows Erik and Daisy’s parallel journeys, exploring the effect one traumatic event in their youth has on their lives and how they choose to deal with the experience as adults.

Only $4.99 now on Amazon!

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An Exaltation of Larks is on sale for $0.99! The 2nd book in the Venery series is coming out on November 1st, so grab Larks now and immerse yourself in the emotional journey of male escort Javier Landes.

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An Exaltation of Larks

From the author of The Fish Tales comes a compelling novel about sexual attraction and the price of love. Across two decades, the paths of a married couple and a male escort cross, leading first to friendship, then to family, and finally to a dark exaltation that threatens all they hold dear.

On sale now for only $0.99!

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Author Bio
A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur went from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her books fall between romantic literature and literary romance, although she’s fond of saying, “I write Contemporary Train wreck.” Her emotionally-intelligent love/life stories prove to appeal to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Laqueur’s novel An Exaltation of Larks won the Grand Prize in the 2017 Writer’s Digest Book Awards. Her novel The Man I Love won a gold medal in the 2015 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards and a gold medal for Best Debut Author from Feathered Quill Book Awards.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater. She taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her on Facebook or at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feelings welcome. And she always has coffee.

Suanne lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children.
Visit her at suannelaqueurwrites.com
Her Facebook page: http://on.fb.me/1TVNBrp
Follow her on Twitter @suannelqr
All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

Author Message
A good story absorbs you into another world, where you meet characters so believable, you’re pissed off you can’t call them to have coffee. Or take them to bed.

You don’t want just another “contemporary romance.” You don’t want a genre. You want a story that mirrors your longing. You want to see the unspoken words in your heart on the page. You want to be touched and validated. You want to be swept up in a love that erases the universe and sets you at the center of a new galaxy, where you don’t have to do a damn thing. But you’re no fool… You want it to be believable.

I want that, too. I want to write passionate but thoughtful love stories. I made up my own genre: I call it either emotionally intelligent romance or contemporary train wreck. Depending what kind of day it is.

Now come over here. Let me tell you a story.

Forever Right Now by Emma Scott – Blog Tour and Giveaway

Forever Right Now by Emma Scott

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***STANDALONE new adult romance from the author of The Butterfly Project and the Full Tilt Duet***

Darlene Montgomery has been to hell and back…more than once. After a stint in jail for drug possession, she is finally clean and ready to start over. Yet another failed relationship is just the motivation she needs to move from New York to San Francisco with the hopes of resurrecting her dance career and discovering that she is more than the sum of her rap sheet. As Darlene struggles in her new city, the last thing she wants is to become entangled with her handsome—but cranky—neighbor and his adorable little girl…

Sawyer Haas is weeks away from finishing law school, but exhaustion, dwindling finances, and the pressure to provide for himself and his daughter, Olivia, are wearing him down. A federal clerkship–a job he desperately needs–awaits him after graduation, but only if he passes the Bar Exam. Sawyer doesn’t have the time or patience for the capricious—if beautiful—dancer who moves into the apartment above his. But Darlene’s easy laugh and cheerful spirit seep into the cracks of his hardened heart, and slowly break down the walls he’s resurrected to keep from being betrayed ever again.

When the parents of Olivia’s absentee mother come to fight for custody, Sawyer could lose everything. To have any chance at happiness, he must trust Darlene, the woman who has somehow found her way past his brittle barbs, and Darlene must decide how much of her own bruised heart she is willing to give to Sawyer and Olivia, especially when the ghosts of her troubled past refuse to stay buried.

ON SALE NOW!

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Excerpt:

“Who are you?” he demanded rudely, shifting the diaper bag higher on his shoulder while hoisting his little girl in his other arm. He was six feet of hotness in a rumpled suit, glaring at me with suspicion in his dark eyes.

“I…I’m your new neighbor?” It sounded more like a question; as if I needed this guy’s permission to live. I straightened to my full height. “I just moved in upstairs. I’m a dancer. Well, I was. Had to take some time off but I’m going to get back into it soon…ish.” I put on my friendliest smile. “I’m a massage therapist now. Just got my license and…”

My words died under Sawyer’s withering stare.

“A dancer. Fantastic,” he said bitterly. “Just what I always wanted. Someone leaping and thumping above me, waking my kid up and disturbing my studies at all hours of the night.”

I planted my hands on my hips. “I can’t dance in a dinky apartment, and besides…”

Words failed me again as the sharp planes and hard angles of Sawyer’s face melted when his daughter–I guessed her to be about a year old–suddenly clapped her small hand over his chin. Sawyer’s hard gaze softened, and his broad mouth turned up in a smile–a beautiful smile I was sure only his little girl ever got to see, and so full of love that for a moment I could hardly breathe.

Emma Scott PhotoAuthor Bio:

Emma Scott writes romances with flawed characters, characters with artistic hearts: builders, poets, and writers of various makes and models. And love always wins. Always. 

Where to Find Emma:

Website ♦ Facebook ♦ Twitter ♦ Instagram ♦ Amazon

$20 Amazon Gift Card & Signed Paperback Giveaway (2 Winners):

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Ty’s Heart (California Cowboys #3) by Selena Laurence

 

Ty’s Heart (California Cowboys #3) by Selena Laurence

Ty’s Heart Cover

4 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Ty’s Heart by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Ty Jenkins has spent the last five years devoted to two things: his daughter Katie and the ranch he and his brothers inherited after their parents’ death. When Katie’s mother decided she couldn’t raise their baby, Ty didn’t hesitate to take on the responsibility of being a single father. And now his life revolves around doing what’s best for the precocious little girl.

Jodi Morgan’s childhood left her ill-prepared to be a mother, so she did what was best for her child. She walked away, leaving the infant in the hands of the young man she was only just getting to know. But the hole in her heart could not be filled by a promising career or any other man she met. With a plan laid out, Jodi moves back to Big Sur with the hope she can get to know her daughter.

Five years ago, Ty and Jodi’s relationship was cut short by the unplanned pregnancy. They both want what’s best for Katie, but long-buried feelings for each other could get in the way of the little girl’s happiness if they’re not careful.

Ty’s Heart is the third standalone book in the California Cowboys series and revolves around the middle Jenkins brother and his adorable daughter. It was easy to fall in love with Ty and Katie in this book, and I always love a story that revolves around more than just the budding romance. Ms. Laurence did not disappoint, keeping Katie and her need for a mother front and center in the story line.

Every parent struggles to know what’s best for their child, and Ty’s character was realistic in that manner. Just because Jodi came back was no guarantee she would stick around this time, and a mother who blew in and out of Katie’s life could do more damage than good. Ty had to get to know Jodi, and he also had to take a chance on her if he wanted Katie to have that one thing he couldn’t give her.

In the course of getting to know Jodi again, the reasons they’d been attracted to each other in the first place stirred up all the feelings that got buried five years ago. Their attraction and the ups and downs of their relationship kept me turning pages long into the night.

The one thing holding this book back from being a 5-star read for me was that the climax felt a little manufactured. I won’t give any details to spoil it for others, but it just fell a bit short for me. By no means did it ruin the story though. It was still a thoroughly enjoyable ride with a satisfying conclusion, and I’ll continue to read Ms. Laurence’s books because I can always count on a captivating, sexy story.

You can find more reviews of Ms. Laurence’s work under the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

A Charm of Finches (Venery #2) by Suanne Laqueur – Cover Reveal and Giveaway

 

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A Charm of Finches

Suanne Laqueur

Release Date: November 1, 2017

Synopsis

From the author of The Fish Tales comes the long-awaited second book in the Venery series.

“I swear. Give me one more chance, and I will make the most of it.”

Ex-escort Javier Landes is asking for his third chance at love. And the third time is the charm. He meets an art therapist named Steffen Finch and what starts as casual deepens into a passionate relationship—everything Jav has ever wanted, and everything he fears losing.

Stef’s business card reads Curator & Sailor. His creativity and insightful nature have made him into a talented therapist, the one to call for tough cases. His professional success can’t conceal a deep need to connect with someone, but Javier Landes is the last person Stef expected.

Geronimo “Geno” Caan is Stef’s most challenging case. To cope with his ordeal, he’s allowed an alter-ego called Mos to make decisions, and now lives a double life within a web of lies. Under Stef’s navigation, Geno uses art to express what Mos forbids to be spoken aloud. But as Geno’s attachment to Stef gradually extends to Jav, the boundaries between professional and personal begin to blur.

Over the course of a year, Jav, Stef and Geno form an unexpected and unconventional triangle, revealing how men make love in times of war and how love is a great wisdom made up of small understandings. A Charm of Finches is an epic tale of survival and secrets guaranteed to make you think and feel and remember.

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Pre-Order Links

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To be shipped after the November 1st release date

Pre-Order Here

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Author Bio

suannelaqueur

A former professional dancer and teacher, Suanne Laqueur has gone from choreographing music to choreographing words. Her goal is to create a new kind of emotionally-intelligent romance that appeals to the passions of all readers, crossing gender, age and genre.

Suanne Laqueur’s debut novel The Man I Love and its follow-up, Give Me Your Answer True, won gold medals in the 2015 and 2016 Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Both were finalists in the 2015 and 2016 Kindle Book Awards, and Laqueur was named a gold medal Debut Author with Feathered Quill Book Reviews.

Laqueur graduated from Alfred University with a double major in dance and theater, and taught at the Carol Bierman School of Ballet Arts in Croton-on-Hudson for ten years. An avid reader, cook and gardener, she started her blog EatsReadsThinks in 2010. She lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband and two children. Visit her at http://suannelaqueurwrites.com. All feels welcome. And she always has coffee.

Author Links

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Join Suanne’s newsletter

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Mend Your Heart (Bounty Bay Book 4) by Tracey Alvarez

 

Mend Your Heart (Bounty Bay Book 4) by Tracey Alvarez

 Mend Your Heart Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Mend Your Heart by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

For the past five years, Isaac Ngata has stayed out of the public’s eye and out of Natalie Fisher’s way. The former All Black rugby star prefers to keep an eye on his best mate’s widow from afar. The accident that took Natalie’s husband and Isaac’s teammate’s life also left Isaac as a celebrity pariah. When he’s asked to coach the girls’ rugby team so Natalie’s daughter can have her chance to play, Isaac’s long-buried feelings for Nat resurface with a vengeance.

Natalie Fisher has resolved herself to life as a single mother and would be happy to put the sport that took her husband behind her for good. But her daughter’s desire to play rugby has put Nat in the direct path of the one man she’d be happy to avoid forever—Isaac Ngata. With Isaac’s reputation in question, Nat has no choice but to help him with practices, and suddenly the sullen man is something more than her husband’s best friend.

Both Nat and Isaac will have to get beyond the past if they want to see what the future holds for them.

Mend Your Heart is book four of the Bounty Bay series, but like all books in this series it can be read as a standalone. And also like all books in this series, it takes romance a step beyond the standard. I can always count on Ms. Alvarez to give me a little something more. In this case, both main characters have to deal with the same issue—the death of Jackson Fisher, who was Natalie’s husband and Isaac’s best friend—but different aspects of the issue. Isaac has always loved Natalie, and his guilt will eat him alive if he can’t let it go. Natalie doesn’t think anyone could love her the way Jackson did, and she has to fight to keep from going back to the girl who made herself invisible in order to survive in the foster care system.

All of the characters in this book, including thirteen-year-old Olivia, were easy to love. One of the things I appreciated most about this story was the gradual change in relationships and characters. The book started with clear examples of Isaac’s miserable life, including his cluelessness in talking to teenagers. Bit by bit, and with a little help from Natalie, he was able to smile again and not only relate to the girls but also coach them to be better people and a better team. Natalie would have preferred to hide from her problems and be invisible once again, but she fought her way back to the strong, assertive woman she’s supposed to be.

Another aspect of this book I truly loved was that the conflict between the characters was mostly internal yet it wasn’t forced or manufactured. The death of a loved one affects people in different ways. Natalie and Isaac both loved Jackson, and they both needed to find a way to move on from their residual feelings five years later. There was plenty of emotion along the way, and like always, this author also knows how to turn up the heat between her characters.

Ms. Alvarez is the queen of happily ever after, providing well-rounded characters, an intriguing plot, and a polished story every time.

All of my reviews of Ms. Alvarez’s books can be found on the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

Mend Your Heart (Bounty Bay #4) by Tracey Alvarez – Cover Reveal & Giveaway

Mend Your Heart by Tracey Alvarez

Cover Reveal and Giveaway

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An idiot’s guide to falling for your best friend’s widow…

Former rugby star Isaac Ngata was New Zealand’s golden boy until five years ago when a tragic accident took the life of his friend and team mate. Now he’s a pariah with a screwed up knee and a burden of guilt toward his friend’s wife and daughter. Best thing for him to do is sink into the anonymous safety of his hometown. An even better thing to do would be to stop picturing Natalie in his arms.

For someone who doesn’t know a dummy pass from a drop kick, Natalie Fisher just wants to keep her late husband’s passion for sport in the past. But their teenage daughter’s rugby team is in desperate need of a coach and the man she can’t stand to be around has volunteered. A long buried attraction flares to life between Natalie and Isaac, one they can’t run far or fast enough to avoid. Soon rugby fever isn’t the only thing heating up Bounty Bay. Crossing the line never had such high stakes…

Check out Tracey’s blog and enter to win an Amazon GC!: http://traceyalvarez.com/mend-your-heart-cover-reveal/

Pre-order at these retailers for the special price of $2.99 (reg. $3.99 after release on September 15th).

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Vaughn’s Pride (California Cowboys #2) by Selena Laurence

Vaughn’s Pride (California Cowboys #2) by Selena Laurence

Vaughn’s Pride Cover

5 out of 5 Stars

*I was provided a copy of Vaughn’s Pride by the author in exchange for an honest review. I am not compensated for my honest opinion.*

Everyone in Big Sur knows Vaughn Jenkins and T.J. Brisco are meant to be together, but life has a way of slapping a man down and putting him in his place. First was the death of Vaughn’s parents when he was seventeen, and now the loss of part of his leg once again pushes him away from the love of his life. Vaughn will never be the man T.J. deserves to have by her side.

T.J.’s loved only one man her whole life—Vaughn. She’d do anything for him. Anything except get pushed away yet again and be expected to sit around and wait for Vaughn to realize he’s worth her love. The sensible head on her shoulders says it’s time to move on. If only her heart would fall in line with that plan.

Vaughn’s Pride is the second book in the California Cowboys series and can be read as a standalone, but book one was so good you might want to read Cade’s Loss first anyway. The stories surround three brothers who tragically lost their parents and inherited one of the biggest ranches in California. Vaughn is the youngest brother and lives his life working the land. Someday he wants to be able to have a farm of his own for himself and T.J., but when an accident takes part of his lower leg and he’s unable to lead the active life he once led, he has nothing left to give her. Pride keeps him from letting her back into his life.

I loved these characters, both past and present versions of them. The author gave glimpses of their history at the beginning of each chapter, which added to the connection I felt to them and their relationship. Vaughn’s pride might’ve felt misplaced at times, but having witnessed their history of best friends turned lovers and their ultimate childhood downfall gave clearer insight into just how devoted he was to T.J. and why he couldn’t let her love him when he didn’t feel he had anything to offer her.

Seeing things from T.J.’s perspective made it even harder to watch him push her away, but character growth continually fueled their connection. Watching them recognize the changes in themselves and each other brought a warm satisfaction you don’t find in every second chance romance.

One of the key factors in any 5-star read for me is the ability of the author to draw me in immediately and keep me invested in the lives of the characters. Ms. Laurence delivered in spades. I hurt for and loved both Vaughn and T.J., turning page after page right up until the end. And having been the second book in the series I couldn’t put down, I’m highly anticipating the final book about the middle Jenkins brother, Ty.

All of my reviews of Ms. Laurence’s work can be found on the Author Spotlight tab.

Book Links:

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Happy reading!

Rach

Flutter by Olivia Evans – Blog Tour, Giveaway, and Excerpt

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#AuthorOliviaEvansFlutter is LIVE!!!
Available NOW on

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Dylan Walker has spent six years trying to move on from the loss of his girlfriend, Presley Cooper. Motivated by grief and the desire to do for others what he couldn’t do for her, he burns the candle at both ends to make it through medical school. After graduation he moves west, putting as much distance as possible between his past and his present.

Or so he thought.

Unknowingly, Dylan has been set on a path that will destroy everything he thought he knew. All the pain, all the grief, was all for nothing. With the help of an unexpected ally, Dylan must find the answers and save the girl he loves before it’s too late.

Deceit.

Betrayal.

Revenge.

A second chance at love.

But first, he must find a way to make her remember her past. Remember him. Remember everything.

“You know, Dylan, there are many hospitals you could work at in New York. If I didn’t believe your moving to California with all those hippies was the best thing for you, I might beg you to stay.”

An unexpected laugh bubbled from his chest as he shook his head. His grandmother put up a good front about being accepting of different cultures and lifestyles, but try as she might, she was blue-blooded through and through. Growing up in one of the wealthiest families in New York had a way of doing that to a person. He had been like that once, before he lost her. The familiar hollowness that always came with her memory began to swell. He couldn’t deal with that right now.

“You’re the one who suggested I interview at Grace Hospital in the first place. If it weren’t for you, I never would have considered moving to California. Also,” Dylan exhaled. “I need a change, Grandmother. There are too many memories here. Too many ghosts.” When he noticed her frown, he looked away and pushed his messy dark blond hair out of his eyes. He needed a haircut. It was one of many things he’d neglected recently.

“I know you loved her, Dylan. I loved her too, but it’s been six years. It’s time to accept what happened and move forward.”

“Two,” he corrected, trying not to flinch. Her words felt like a physical blow. “Until two years ago, I still had hope that one day…” Dylan pulled in a deep breath and pushed his memories into the darkest corner of his mind. “That’s why I’m moving to California. Going to college at Penn State, staying close to home, those were things we were supposed to do together. I’ve lived the life we planned without her. I thought it would get better, but it hasn’t. I need to go where everything I see doesn’t remind me of her.”

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Olivia Evans is a dreamer by day, writer by night. She’s obsessed with music and loves discovering new bands. Traveling the world and watching the sun set in every time zone sounds like heaven to her. A true Gemini, she follows her heart blindly and lives life to the fullest with her husband, son, and friends. Her other loves are: Chuck Taylors, Doc Martens, concert tees, gangster movies, sports, wine, craft beer and her shih tzu’s.

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