Blog Tour and Giveaway: Pretty Instinct: S.E. Hall
Pretty Instinct (Finally Found#1)
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“If opposites attract, then I am nothing. Because you, you are everything.”
There’s no easy road traveled to such an intense sentiment, one I never dreamt I’d feel….
But I also never planned on Cannon Blackwell climbing aboard my tour bus.
I check my phone for the tenth time. It’s almost 2 am, surely they’re asleep and I can sneak to my own bed. Sleeping with Conner isn’t as fun as you might think, unless you think being caged with a wild animal sounds like a party.
As quietly as possible, I slink out of the bed and through his door, pulling it closed; halfway there. Sending up a silent prayer I don’t meet any open, awake eyes, I turn, relieved at the lack of spectators, and scurry to my bed. After sharing my song tonight, I need some time to pass before I look them in the eyes—those lyrics, the tremor in my voice as I sang—I’m not ready for questions or commentary.
Of course I didn’t pull off the covert bed switch undetected. This bus—40 x 8 feet—might as well be a shoebox. I draw back the curtain, squinting my eyes against the dimness.
“Hey,” Cannon greets me with a whisper and grin from his bed, curtain also pulled open.
Giving him back the smile I can’t contain, I finger wave. Has he been waiting up for me? Was I secretly hoping he’d still be awake? Do I want to know either answer or what it says about me? What planet am I living on that this is now an issue?
“Here.” He scoots to the edge of his bunk and hands across…an earbud? Eyeing him curiously, I turn on my side, facing his way, and put it in my ear. “Shhh.” He puts a finger over his lips then winks and slips the other bud in his own ear, only breaking eye contact for a split second to tap the phone screen, then reconnecting in the muted light.
“Hello, Lizzie,” his voice sounds in my ear and as my eyes pop in surprise. He once again does the “shhh” thing, nodding to me to just listen. “I thought about playing you ‘You Are So Beautiful,’ but surely you already know that. This, you may not.”
There’s a brief pause, then music starts… It’s “Have a Little Faith in Me.”
I know I whimper aloud, but I force my eyes to stay on his no matter how badly I want to hide them and the building tears. Through the entire song, I stare and he stares back, mouthing the words every once in a while. With the closing notes, his voice returns.
“Not too corny, I hope. Just…think about it. Sweet dreams, Lizzie.”
Apparently picking up on the fact I’ve been rendered incapable of functioning, he reaches over and gently removes the earbud, taps the end of my nose with his fingertip, then closes my curtain for me.
I’ll have the corny with a side of corny please.
"You were instantly, are now and will always be, my prettiest instinct."
Liz has faced some difficult times of loss and tragedy in her past. And now she lives on a tour bus with her two best friends, Jarrett and Rhett (hot brother alert), her Uncle, and her extraordinary, sweet brother, Conner. When their band is suddenly in need of a new bass player, fate smiles upon them when Cannon Blackwell appears at the right place and the right time. His life just imploded so the idea of an adventure works for him.
Add one sexy, charismatic guy with a guitar to a bus full of crazy characters and it is about to real. Soon the bus is rocking and rolling with confusion, sexual tension, jealousy, mistrust, and laughter. The close confines of the bus has Liz reacting to Cannon in ways she has never experienced. Which not only surprises her but also her little band of protective men.
Cannon...Oh my. What a fantastic book boyfriend. He is outspoken, sexy, fun, and flirty. He is charming and sweet, while being a bit pushy and bossy if the situation calls for it. But he is also perceptive and a calming force when needed. Lizzie is feisty, controlling, cynical, and used to taking care of others. She gets lost in her head and her past at times. They spark, they tease, and react strongly. She has been living life for her brother and friends, but he opens up her up for more feelings, adventure, and fun.
My reality isn't the kind found in storybooks, and as badly as I want to, I can't shut off the cynic in my head. Cannon's wearing it down, though; I so hope he keeps up the fight.
I loved their interactions from fiery to confused to heated to unsure. They were both alike in that they were a little OCD and controlling, but in other ways they were opposites. But in those ways they balanced each other. Both of their lives chanced very quickly. She became his siren drawing him in. He became her light out of her own darkness.
"What you do to me, Lizzie, your song, your smile, a look...you draw me in and I'm captivated, willing to sell my soul to know more. I can't wait to hear what you'll say next, what you'll wear each day, what will make you smile and laugh. I watch the way you love and take care of Conner, Rhett and the others and all I can do is envy them, try to figure out how to get you to pour all that Lizzie love over me. Then let me give it right back."
"Please don't let me ruin you...Please. You're magnificent and my ugly will only bleed over to you and taint that. I'm hopeless, Cannon, way too scratched and dented. Don't let me dim your light. Tarnishing you in any way would be my gravest sin...And I don't know if I can stay away..."
Together they provided just what the other needed. I liked that their relationship was built on shared interests, rapport, and general like first before he even let it become about the physical. Even though it was somewhat fast, it did not feel like insta-love or too soon. Since the connection between them was so strong and their ability to support and open up to each other progressed at a believable pace, it made it all seem natural. I loved the description of "pretty instinct" and it did fit them. Even though there was some relationship drama, I did not feel like it was super angsty. They had more to deal with in the grand scheme of their lives instead of petty arguments. Although at times they did have fears and insecurities (especially Lizzie) that had to be addressed and dealt with. She is a tough girl who has been ruled by hate, anger, guilt so long that she has only been living half a life and not addressing her own needs. And it will take a determined, strong man to be able to squeeze his way into her world full of very protective men and bring down her carefully constructed walls. But Cannon is not just any man, and he is not afraid to go after what he wants.
"You need my rational as badly as I thrive on your ferocity, admit it."
This is not only a love story but it is also about acceptance, forgiveness, letting go, and healing. It not only focuses on one interesting, intense, lovable couple, but also on their families and those that love them. There is past pain that has to be shared and faced in order to have a chance at moving on.
S.E. Hall has created a whole new cast of characters that intrigued me and made me fall in love with them.
Jarrett and Rhett, the brothers that Liz adopted as her own are fun, supportive, and totally dedicated to her. Jarrett is a bit more of carefree and fun bad boy, while Rhett is more intense, serious, and emotional. But they are very close, know each other well, and really are like family. And they are also talented, charismatic, and hot! Yes, there is lots of testosterone in this book. And her brother, Conner just made me smile so much. He is so full of unconditional love and pure joy that made him completely endearing. His relationship with Lizzie is so sweet and a big part of the heart of the story. And her Uncle Bruce made me laugh with his big tough guy routine when he is just a big softy underneath.
It was told mostly in Lizzie's point of view with some chapters in Cannon's (I was so excited to finally get into his head!) There is some mystery about the unknown events from their pasts that slowly unravels as the story goes on. And in the midst of that, there are issues in the present causing more drama. But Cannon is a fierce protector and calming influence over Lizzie's complicated and emotional world. But in order to face all of the challenges, they have to be willing to risk their hearts.
This is another winner from S.E. Hall. I fell in love with her Evolve series and her indepth plot lines and engaging characters with strong ties. And she has done it again with the beginning of this series. True to form this one was humorous, heart warming, emotional, intriguing, and swoony. I am looking forward to more in this series with some of the other characters: Rhett, Jarrett, Sommerlyn, and even young Vaughn are interesting and have me wanting more.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
I absolutely loved Liz and Cannon’s story. From start to finish, everything about Pretty Instinct was perfectly written, perfectly planned, perfectly perfect.
Liz was hard, angry, and protective. Traveling on a bus with her two best friends and her brother, she set high standards for anyone not within that tight circle. The pain she feels each time Connor stays with their father added an interesting counterpoint to the girl who normally led the band. When Connor wasn’t nearby, she had a hard time letting go of that control, worrying constantly.
Cannon, found on the side of the road with little more than the guitar on his back, quickly settles himself amidst the crazy family on the bus. He has a sweet side hiding underneath his exterior that made me sigh each time he showed it. And his nibbles? *sigh*
I loved their dynamic from the very beginning. It was like Cannon could see through all Liz’s walls, even though he knew nothing about her past. She trusted him faster than anyone else new in her life, and watching him fit himself into the already established family on the bus felt natural.
Living on a bus for most of the book brought an interesting dynamic to the story, as well as the protective natures of Jarrett and Rhett, and Connor’s unique personality. All three men traveling with Liz in the beginning of the story have such great insight in to Liz and the way they each deal with her shows all the love between them. The addition of Cannon to the mix of protective men rounded out the bunch quite well.
The anger, suspicion, and fear that Liz holds close only add intrigue to the story, and as the truth begins to come out, this story turned from a band on the road to a family healing old hurts. That shift made this different from most stories about bands I’ve read, a great change of pace.
I had the chance to savor this story, as real life got in the way of reading a lot during my time with Pretty Instinct, and while I wish I could have devoured it at my normal reading pace, the forced slowness added get anticipation to the plot. I couldn't wait to find out what would happen next and how Liz's conflicts beyond the bus would play out. I can't wait to see more from these characters. So much groundwork has been set to build curiosity about the other characters and where their stories will take them.
I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
S.E.Hall resides in Arkansas with her husband of 18 years and 4 beautiful daughters. When not in the stands watching her ladies play softball, she enjoys reading and writing. She's also being clutch at Baggo, when it's warm outside!
CD soundtracks of Embrace and Pretty Instincta Rafflecopter giveaway