Friday, March 11, 2016

Blog tour and Christie's review: Snared: A Jaded Regret novel by L.L. Collins

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BEAU has never known a good life, only the torment that lives inside his head every day. The only way to block out the darkness that shrouds him is through the rhythmic beat of his drums. Knowing what happens when he opens up to anyone, Beau buries his pain deep inside, keeping it all to himself.

APRIL has lived a life of wealth and privilege, full of love and support. Her only insight into what it's like to have a rough life is through her work with foster children. When she meets Beau, it starts as a challenge to get through to him but quickly turns into much more than either of them bargained for.

TOGETHER, they are mismatched, ill-fated, and COMBUSTIBLE. But when their connection is challenged by the collision of past, present, and future, will they be snared by love...or circumstances?

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I perched on the chair next to him. He started tapping on his legs again, and I moved my hands so they were over his. He immediately stopped. “Show me.” His hands were still for a few beats too long, and I figured he wasn’t going to do it. I was about to move when he put the drumsticks in my hands and began moving, tapping a rapid beat I’d never remember.

I turned my head so I could watch his face as he played my hands with his drumsticks. With my face so close to his, I was able to study the tattoos on his neck, the short dark hair on his beard, his nose ring, and his incredible eyes. They were so dark they looked black, but they were the one part of him that showed expression.

His hands stilled as he realized how close I was to his face. Beau slightly turned my way. My hands were still under his, clutching his drumsticks like they were the last lifeline I had. They just might’ve been. My eyes scanned his flawless face. He had the most beautiful skin, and I wanted to touch him again. My eyes flitted to his lips. God, what it would be like to press my lips to his, I could only imagine.

“Did you…keep your drumsticks?” I felt his warm breath against my lips, and I shuddered. Tingles spread from my spine down to my toes and back again, making goose bumps break out on my skin. I wanted nothing more than to grab him and show him exactly why he should want to get to know me better.

I licked my dry lips and nodded my head. “O-of course. I told you I’d save them forever.”

He nodded. His thumbs caressed my hands and I froze, wondering if he knew what he was doing and afraid if I moved he would realize it and stop.

“You’re so handsome.” My legs shook as adrenaline coursed through my body. “There’s nothing better than seeing you doing what you love.”

Beau’s eyes searched mine as if trying to read into what I said. Of course, he didn’t believe me. Why would he? I knew from experience kids who had been abandoned never quite got over the belief that nothing they did was good enough or would bring back the people they loved. He was no different.

But I had to keep my mouth shut because that’s what had gotten me into trouble before with him.

I wanted nothing more than to kiss Beau, to show him with my mouth what I couldn’t say in words. But I was terrified of what his reaction would be, and after the stress I’d been under over Robbie, I didn’t think my fragile psyche could handle one more thing.

One of Beau’s hands moved, and I knew the moment was over. He’d want me to get away from him now. But instead, I felt his hand touch the side of my face like I’d done to him on the rooftop deck.

“You...” Beau cleared his throat. I could physically see how hard this was for him to do. “April.” It came out a strained whisper, like it physically pained him to say my name. I didn’t want him to hurt because of me.

“It’s okay,” I said, putting my hand over his on my face. “You don’t have to talk. Just know I’m here, all right?”

He shook his head, moving his hand and entwining our fingers together. Then he shocked the hell out of me and kissed my palm, his eyes never leaving mine. “You...smell incredible,” he whispered against my skin. “You’re…beautiful. So beautiful.” If I hadn’t been listening to every syllable like they were the last sounds I’d ever hear, I might’ve missed what he said.

But I’d heard every damn one of them.

Beau stood, his fingers still linked with mine. He leaned over and brushed his lips against my cheek, stopping at my ear. “Stay after the show.” He dropped my hand and stepped around me, but I was frozen in place. Desire pulsed through my body like nothing I’d ever experienced before, and the biggest smile broke across my face.

Beau Anderson had kissed my hand. And my cheek. He’d asked me to stay after the show.

I thought my head just might explode right off my body.


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LL Collins is the self-published author of the bestselling Living Again Series, including Living Again, Reaching Rachel, Guarding Hearts, Finding Forever, and Breaking Free: A Living Again Novella, all available now.

LL has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out and start writing and try to make her lifelong dreams of becoming an author come true. She has been a teacher for over ten years and lives in Florida with her husband and two sons.

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This is book two in the Jaded Regret series and my first by this author. This book was easily read without any confusion, so if you were thinking of reading it first, you're completely safe. The author did an excellent job introducing the full set of characters without dragging down the pace of the story while at the same time giving us enough backstory to feel comfortable. I'm a sucker for a good musician story, and it didn't hurt that the cover on this particular one was mighty fine. And that's all it took folks. I was sold on trying this new-to-me author.

This book was a little different than your average rock band book. It wasn't filled with sex, drugs and rock-and-roll and the typical conflicts you'd come to expect. The hero wasn't a detached manwhore intrigued by the unimpressed heroine. He was a man who was tortured (really, truly mentally tortured) by his unhealthy family life growing up. The things he saw, experienced, and the mental abuse inflicted by his mother caused severe damage.

Words could hurt. They could cut you like a knife, leaving you bleeding out on the floor. I'd been bleeding for too long.

Beau's father's suicide was the pivotal moment in his life. The point where his happy memories faded and he began a dark descent into depression and self-hatred. He's a man who feels as if he doesn't deserve happiness in life, or people who genuinely care about him. In his mind, he's toxic. A monster. When April, a sweet and honest social worker comes into his life, she sees past his quiet and intimidating demeanor. It's the fear of his past, his whole truth coming out that keep him from allowing her close.

She didn't see me. Not really. She saw what I wanted her to see, and she thought she liked me. But she didn't know the darkness inside me. What I was. What ran through my veins.

April was a great heroine. She was so sweet and understanding of Beau's issues. I really think that her history with foster children, her career and training really opened up true possibilities for her to find a way to Beau's heart and mind. He had been closed off for almost his entire life, but her sensitivity and giving heart made her the perfect partner for him. Yes, she may have been a bit naive over how deeply he was troubled and how she could "save him". But she accepted him, just as he was and was there to gently guide him to where he needed to be, when he was ready.

I do feel as if his recovery from his serious issues wasn't quite realistic. After he finally got to rock bottom and had to get help, I think the process would have been much more intense and prolonged. The whole book emphasized how deeply his mind was tricked into feeling as if he was worthless. So I wasn't quite sold on his recovery in the end. But that's me, probably just being picky. Overall, it was a nice message of learning to love yourself before you can love others. Of shedding your past and the prison that others put you in, and allowing yourself happiness.


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