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Promo Blitz, Review, and Giveaway: Strings of the Heart: Katie Ashley

Strings of the Heart (Runaway Train #3)
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Expected May 12, 2014
Pre-order/Buy: Amazon/AmazonUKAmazonCA/AmazonAU/B&N pending

Twenty year old, Allison Slater has been in love with her brother’s bandmate, Rhys McGowan, since she was fifteen years old. But to him, she’ll always be Jake’s little sister and off limits. Now a college sophomore and licking her wounds from a bad breakup, she sets her sights on making Rhys see her as someone he could date…maybe even love. Her opportunity comes when Rhys visits his parents in Savannah where she is attending college. But the night she’s dreamed of turns to heart-break, and she realizes she’ll never be the one for Rhys. 

For Rhys McGowan, his nightmare began when he woke up, naked and hung-over, next to his best friend's little sister. Unable to remember a thing from the previous night, he only makes matters worse by lying to Allison about not being interested in her. The truth is he’s spent the last year trying to ignore his body’s reaction whenever Allison is around. His resolve is tested when Allison comes on tour with Runaway Train, as both Jake and Abby’s nanny and to fulfill her fashion design internship. The more time he spends with her in the close quarters of the bus, the harder it is for him to resist. 


Will Rhys realize that having a relationship with Allison is worth fighting for even if it means that he has to fight his best friend for a chance?



Pulling away, I stared into her face. “God you’re so fucking beautiful,” I murmured.

She fluttered her eyelashes prettily at me. “Do you really mean that?”

“I would say it was the tequila talking, but I think my wood would prove me wrong.”

As her arms came to encircle my neck, she pressed herself against me. “I don’t want it to be the tequila talking. I want it to be what you feel deep down inside.”

I stared into her eyes, which held such vulnerability. “You like me, don’t you?”

With a solemn expression, she nodded her head. “I always have, and I always will,” she whispered.


I have been waiting for Rhys (Pronounced Like Reese) McGowan's book for so long. He is the  funny, sweet lead guitarist and at twenty-seven he is the youngest member of Runaway Train. His past is full of pain that has affected him and caused him to hide it from others. He does not think he will ever settle down even though he feels left out that his band mates all have. His home life was distressing and lonely and he never really found a true home until he found his band. And Runaway Train and their families have become his true family. 
I guess at twenty-seven I should have been thinking of getting married, but it was really the last thing on my mind. Well, it had been up until a few months ago when my life got shot all to hell.

Allison is the younger sister of his band mate and best friend, Jake.  Therefore that should make her his family too. They have been around each other since she was thirteen. She has had a huge crush on him since that time. But now Allison is twenty and growing up. She is sassy, caring, beautiful, and talented. She has been involved with other men, but Rhys has always been the man that she compares all men too. 

And when Rhys stops by to visit her in his home town of Atlanta where she attends college, they spend more time alone together than they ever have. They have a witty rapport, enjoy each other's company, and have good chemistry. And during that time, Rhys is hit with feelings and longing he did not think would happen. And that causes guilt and insecurities. He already feels protective over Allison, but now does he have to protect her from himself? There is more to Rhys than meets the eye, he has secrets and demons, and he does not usually share it with others. And Allison is just so happy to be near him that she just tries not to make any sudden moves that would scare him off.

It was so strange that I had known him for seven years, spent hours and hours of time with him in different places, yet when it came down to it, I felt like I didn’t know him at all. He was a puzzle that needed to be solved, but at the same time, I had the feeling that some of the pieces were missing. Pieces that I would somehow have to dig deep to unearth. 

I loved seeing their friendship and early relationship build. It was easy,  humorous, and sweet, and they were just so carefree and natural together despite the underlying sexual tension that neither of them would admit. There are so many reasons that they should never go there...an overprotective big brother, his upper class judgmental family, and the fact that they share a whole group of people that are important to them and if it went bad then it would affect more than just themselves. 

“You don’t understand. What happens between us…it has to be all or nothing. If things were to go wrong, it would affect so many others besides us.”

But being back in his emotionally unstable environment, confusion over new feelings, and alcohol cause things to get out of hand. And what does a scared, emotionally stunted man do? Run of course. And what should have been the best night of Allison's life turns to heartbreak, making that easy going rapport they previously shared a thing of the past. Unfortunately their present involves them traveling on tour buses together in close confines.

A homesick girl all alone in Savannah, my parents’ loveless world of perfection and excess, and a bottle of Silver Tequila were the ingredients that fed the storm that forever changed our lives. And now like the strings on a once finely tuned instrument that had bowed under the tension, we were broken, if not ruined.

It becomes a mess of hurt feelings, secrets, miscommunication, guilt, jealousy, and anger. They have many obstacles in their way from the outside and also their own inner fears and insecurities. And their problems are not only their own but affect all of those they love. 

Oh Rhys. There were so many times I just loved him and others I wanted to smack him upside the head for being so clueless. He tried to keep living in denial land and it did not do any of them any favors. He had always been the easy going, fun one. But was so much more damaged than expected and really felt powerless to make the whole situation right for any of them. But it was fun seeing him try to stay in control and then keep losing control despite his best efforts. I really liked Allison. She was sweet and caring, but had spunk and sass. She knew what she wanted and was willing to fight for it. But even she could only take so much emotional whiplash and rejection. It is ultimately up to Rhys to figure out if admitting his feelings for Allison is worth the risk of losing his best friends/family, and career. 

The scenes with the band and their families often make me crack up especially with the kids. The situations are just hilarious when you think of these families on the road with a rock band. And the brotherly bonds with the guys and the women in their lives are strong, but they have such humor and thrive on taunting and torturing each other. I love seeing more with the couples Jake and Abby, AJ and Mia, and Brayden and Lily and all their offspring. The scenery of Atlanta added southern charm and history to the story. It was told in both Allison and Rhys's point of view letting us feel all of their confusion, conflict, pain, fear, longing, and need. This story did not disappoint and it was another engaging, funny, sexually charged, romantic installment in this series. It was all I hoped it would be for Rhys and Allison. I have become so attached to all of these characters. I am looking forward to more with Brayden and Lily and the rest of Runaway Train in Melody of the Heart

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review and was also a beta reader. 
Music of Heart (Runaway Train#1)
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For Abby Renard, the plan was supposed to be simple—join her brothers’ band on the last leg of their summer tour and decide if she’s finally ready for the limelight by becoming its fourth member. Of course, she never imagined stumbling onto the wrong tour bus at Rock Nation would accidentally land her in the bed of Jake Slater, the notorious womanizing lead singer of Runaway Train. When he mistakes her for one of his groupie’s, Abby quickly lets him know she sure as hell isn't in his bed on purpose.

Jake Slater never imagined the angel who fell into his bed would resist his charms by promptly kneeing him in the balls. Of course, the fact she seems like a prissy choir girl makes her anything but his type. So he is more than surprised when after betting Abby she wouldn’t last a week on their tour bus, she is more than willing to prove him wrong. But as Jake’s personal life begins to implode around him, he finds an unlikely ally in Abby. He’s never met a woman he can talk to, joke with, or most importantly make music with.

As the week starts comes to a close, neither Abby nor Jake is ready to let go. Can a sweetheart Country songstress and a bad boy of Rock N Roll actually have a future together?



Beat of the Heart (Runaway Train #2)

After years of bad relationships and a cheating ex-fiancé, twenty-eight-year-old Mia Martinelli prefers healing her patients’ hearts on the Cardiac Care floor rather than risking having her heart broken again. But that all comes to a screeching halt when caring for the head roadie for Runaway Train puts her into the orbit of drummer and Latin Lover, AJ Resendiz. After a scorching weekend of steamy passion, Mia’s intention of getting out with her heart unscathed is challenged by the stud with the wicked sense of humor, especially when he wants to continue seeing her. But when the harsh reality of AJ’s hoard of female admirers sends her insecurities into overdrive, Mia bails, leaving him handcuffed to his bathroom shower. 

AJ never imagined that after two weeks of the best sex and female companionship he’d ever experienced, he would need rescued by his band mates from his shower prison. Although he tries to forget the sensual brunette whose curves made his mouth water, AJ can’t get her out of his mind…or his heart. Months later when he finally seeks Mia for answers as to why she left, nothing could prepare him for their life-altering reunion.

Can AJ prove to Mia that regardless of the women after his body, his heart belongs only to her?


Music of the Soul 
(Runaway Train #2.5)
Kim's 5 star review

In Music of the Heart, an unexpected twist of fate caused Abby Renard to fall into womanizer Jake Slater’s bed. What started out as a small spark between the unlikely pair, grew into a deep and intense love. After a year-long engagement, the two have finally been able to set a wedding date. It’s off to Mexico for a destination ceremony on a private beach. After a heated week long honeymoon in a tropical paradise, the two return to the real world of touring and making music together. 

As the newlyweds settle into married life, another twist of fate challenges their love. For once, Abby isn’t able to be the rock of strength that Jake needs. Can the two of them hold on to the strong foundation of love they have built, or will it crumble under the pressure?


Melody of the Soul (Runaway Train #3.5)
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Expected July 2014

As Rolling Stone magazine prepares an issue on successful rock star marriages, they sit down with Brayden and Lily Vanderburg. After all, the two have been a couple since they were fifteen years old. But there is more to the story than meets the eye, and their love took a slight detour before finding happily ever after. 
Told in flashbacks from the present to the past, Brayden and Lily share the story of their unbreakable love.
 

Katie Ashley is the New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of The Proposition. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her two very spoiled dogs and one outnumbered cat. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Harry Potter, Shakespeare, Supernatural, Designing Women, and Scooby-Doo.

She spent 11 1/2 years educating the Youth of America aka teaching MS and HS English until she left to write full time in December 2012.


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