Blog Tour and Giveaway: Tessa Ever After: Brighton Walsh

TESSA EVER AFTER (Caged in Winter #2)
Brighton Walsh
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Expected May 5, 2015

In this grippingly emotional New Adult novel from the author of Caged in Winter, what you want isn’t always what you need…

Jason’s been living (and loving) the rich playboy lifestyle for five years, but now his parents are pressuring him to get involved in the family business. The last thing he wants is another obligation, but when his best friend moves out of state and asks Jason to look after his sister, he can’t just say no.

Tessa had to grow up way too soon. After dealing with the aftermath of her parents’ deaths, then becoming a teenage mom, she knows the meaning of responsibility. Which is why, at twenty-two, she’s looking for so much more than a party boy. She’s looking for someone who can stand by her and her daughter…forever.

A relationship between them is doomed from the start, but who says they can’t have a little fun? But as Jason gets closer to Tessa—and her daughter—fun starts to turn into something else… Something Jason’s not sure he’s ready for. 


I threw the game. Despite my daughter wanting me to win—for girls everywhere, she said—I couldn’t. I feigned exhaustion, letting my body slump to the ground. Because my blood was boiling, my body on fire as I pressed against Jason’s body during a stupid game of Twister, and I couldn’t take it anymore. If Haley hadn’t been in the room, I would’ve pulled Jason down on top of me and let him strip me down right there on that stupid plastic mat.

In reality, I had a four-year-old to attend to instead of doing everything I wanted to. In the thirty minutes since putting Haley to bed, my urgency has faded, leaving behind only a subtle hum under my skin, but it’s there. This vibration of need when Jason is around that I never bothered to notice before. Or that I willingly ignored, which is probably more the case.

Despite that, despite wanting him, I’m in the bathroom under the guise of freshening up, even though I showered just a couple hours ago. I’m stalling, and I don’t know why. Haley’s asleep, Jason’s in the living room, presumably waiting for me, and I’m hiding in the bathroom.

Several minutes go by before a soft knock sounds at the door, sending me jumping nearly a foot in the air.

“Yeah . . .” I try to say, except my voice comes out all scratchy and breathless, so I clear my throat and try again. “Yeah?”

“Do you want me to just go home, Tess?”

“What?” I whip the door open, eyes wide and frantic, because that is absolutely not what I want. Not even a little bit. Leaning his shoulder against the doorjamb, Jason’s eyes snap to mine as soon as the layer of wood isn’t separating us anymore, and in that split second when our eyes meet, the heat between us cracks and sizzles just like it did while we were playing the game. Just like it’s been doing anytime we’re within twenty feet of each other. Shaking my head, I say, “No. I don’t want you to go home.”

His eyebrows lift up on his forehead, his expression one that clearly says he thinks I’m full of it. “You sure? Because you’ve been hiding in here for ten minutes.”

I open my mouth to argue with him about the hiding bit, but there’s no use. Instead, I simply nod and swallow, not sure I can find the words to tell him exactly what’s going on with me.

Mostly because I don’t even know myself.

It’s not like I’m a virgin, and even though it has been a while, I’ve never gotten like this with any of my previous partners. Never had this overwhelming nervousness, and I don’t know where it’s coming from. No idea why there’s this swarm of bees buzzing around in my stomach. Why I’m all breathless with anticipation and anxiety.

But then Jason steps forward, right into my space, one hand coming up and cupping the back of my neck while the other goes to my hip, his thumb slipping under the material of my shirt to graze the skin above my waistband, and I know exactly why there’s a tornado in my belly.

“Last chance,” he murmurs, his breath washing over my lips, and I don’t think I could tell him to stop even if I wanted to.

But I don’t. I don’t want to, so I shake my head, and finally—finally—he closes the distance between us and puts his lips to mine. The kiss is tentative at first, a question, and even though he gave me an out just a moment ago, I love that he’s not pushing it. When I don’t pull away, don’t do anything but grip the front of his shirt in my fists and pull him closer to me, he takes that as an answer and swipes his tongue across my lips. On a moan, I open to him, desperate to taste him again in a way I didn’t allow myself to think about before now.

Jason’s grip on me tightens, his thumb rubbing in circles against the pulse point at my neck, and I know he can feel my heart flying. It’s nearly pounding right out of my rib cage. His other hand curls around my hip, pulling me closer to him, flush with him, and I can’t stop from gasping into his mouth. He’s against me, all of him, strong and solid and hard, and I didn’t realize how much I wanted this until this very moment.

He’s already good at reading my cues, because no more have I thought it than we’re walking, fumbling down the hallway and into my bedroom. The door isn’t even closed before I start tugging up his shirt, desperate to feel his skin against mine. With a grunt and a curse, he reaches back and yanks his shirt over his head before his lips are back on mine, his tongue sliding against my own, and I can hardly breathe I want this so badly.

In the dozen-plus years of his being in my life, I’ve seen him without a shirt on too many times to count, but I’ve never felt his bare skin. Not like this. He’s sinewy and muscular, the body of a runner, all tall and lanky, the muscles in his abdomen defined but not obscene, his biceps cut but not bulky. I run my hands over every part of him I can reach, sliding from his chest to his stomach, following the trail of hair down then hooking into the waistband of his jeans, and I want those off, too.

“Jesus, Tess,” he groans into my mouth, and the roughness of it washes over me like a warm rain, comforting me in a way I didn’t realize I needed. He wants this. Me. Desperately. It’s reassuring to know I’m not in this on my own.

His lips brush across my cheek, his teeth nipping at my chin, his tongue licking a line up the column of my neck, and I think I might die right here. I might actually die, because my heart feels like the pounding hooves of a thousand horses, and I can’t seem to get my clothes off fast enough.

She deserves the happily ever after she's been dreaming about as long as I've known her.

Tessa grew up too fast and has had to be responsible one, but is now having a hard time managing her and her daughter Haley's lives and schedules now that her brother Cade has moved away. She feels like she is failing. 

Cade's best friend, Jason has been a a bit irresponsible, has had many women but no relationships, and has been  living off his parents' money and dragging his feet through school. His parents make him feel like a failure and are putting more pressure on him.

Jason tries to help Tessa out but is also fighting an attraction to her. And she is off limits as his best friend's little sister. She's done the bad boy thing before and knows she needs someone more stable and settled, but is enjoying having Jason around more and more.

Jason is very nearly the exact opposite of the kind of man I'm looking for--the kind of man I want to have a future with. The kind of man who will fit perfectly into my and Haley's lives. He's a bad boy, and I have no illusions of turning a bad boy good.

Jason impressed me with his growth and depth of feelings. He was lovable, charismatic, swoon-worthy, but did have a lot of stress and fear of his future. His parents wanted to control every aspect of his life and  made him feel worthless. He had decisions to make, but felt powerless to do what he really wanted.

She's always been someone more...someone different, even if there wasn't anything between us. And this conversation just once again proves exactly what I've known all along. That she deserves a hell of a lot better than an a**hole like me.

Tessa was afraid of getting hurt again or letting Haley down. And she was under pressure from her friend and brother. She was resilient, mature, and caring, but was overwhelmed and craved love and support. But she also wanted passion too. But she also had to be mindful of her daughter's needs. But I felt their chemistry and connection and loved them together.

Little Haley was darling. She shined in every one of her scenes. I loved her relationship with Jason and Cade. She had those men wrapped around her little finger.

What I loved about this story was that it was so realistic. It was everyday life trials and tribulations. It was facing daily stress alone, being overwhelmed, and needing support, It was the true unglamorous life of a single parent without support.  But also shows the other side of the coin with his family that wants to control his life.

But it was also about connections and having someone to come home to. It was totally plausible and messy and scary and complicated. It was a heartwarming, sweet, sexy story of friendship, family, and love. It was told in dual point of view and both of the main characters were completely likable despite their quirks, imperfections, and mistakes.

I want to give Tessa what no one's given her before. I want to give her what I've never given anyone before. Connection without an expiration date.

I really like Brighton Walsh's writing style. She makes you fall for her flawed, complicated characters and brings you right into their world to become invested.  And of course there had to be some mistakes and drama. Cade and Winter are back (Caged in Winter), but Cade is acting like more of a protective older brother to Tessa than as Jason's best friend. So at times he just adds to the complications. Their friends Adam and Paige also provided comedic support. I wonder if we might see a book for Adam or Paige?

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.

Tessa is overwhelmed with all the changes in her life, and hadn’t realized just how much her brother was helping her until he moved away. She feels like everything she does is not enough, and as various household problems arise she has no idea how to handle them on her own.

Jason was only supposed to keep an eye on his best friend’s sister. He wasn’t supposed to do more than pick up the slack if she needed help. But as he spends more time with Tessa and Hailey, he finds himself wanting them in his life more and more. But he is also feeling pressure from his family to finally finish his degree and join the family business, two things he has been dragging his feet for years trying to avoid.

These two have chemistry, but it’s chemistry that begins with hidden desire as neither sees that the other is looking. And chemistry that builds through normal everyday interactions as they each lean on each other for something entirely non-physical.

Tessa says she is looking for someone solid and stable, ready to settle down and have a family. Jason is always up for a good time, though is not interested in a relationship. But together? They just work. Jason sees beyond the present and wants what he sees when he’s with Tessa and Hailey, and Tessa lightens up when Jason is around.

I loved watching Jason and Hailey interact and bond. She is such a bubbly, girly 4 year old that their time together was sweet and always brought a grin to my face. I have decided I’m kind of a sucker when it comes to little girls twisting men around their fingers, especially when those men never see it coming.

I also loved the tension caused by Cade’s reaction to Tessa and Jason. I loved him in Caged in Winter and continued to love him as a side character here. He has always been a protective older brother and uncle, and watching him struggle to take care of his sister despite the distance (and in spite of it being his best friend he was supposedly protecting her from) just added to the enjoyment.
This was a great follow-on to Caged in Winter. As much as I liked Cage and Winter, I think I love Tessa and Jason even more. I only put this down long enough to sleep and was itching to read again almost as soon as I woke up in the morning. It was real, honest, and so easy to get lost in.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
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Our 4.5 star reviews

In this emotional and sexy New Adult debut from Brighton Walsh, the only thing more frightening than commitment is hope…

Aspiring chef Cade Maxwell is immediately, viscerally attracted to Winter Jacobson. But it’s not her mouthwatering curves he’s drawn to—it’s the strange emptiness in her eyes. When Cade saves her from a drunken customer with grabby hands, he’s shocked at her response…

Winter doesn’t need Cade’s help. After a lifetime of getting by on her own, she’s happy to rely on herself. She’s exactly seventy-six days away from graduating college, and if she can hold it together that long, she’ll finally be able to rise above the crappy hand she was dealt.

But now, every time she turns around, Cade is there, ready to push her, smile at her, distract her from her plans. Winter knows she can’t afford to open up—especially to a man she’s terrified to actually want…

Brighton Walsh spent nearly a decade as a professional photographer before deciding to take her storytelling in a different direction and reconnect with writing. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and two children.

~~ Blog Giveaway: (1) Paperback Copy of Tessa Ever After by Brighton Walsh (US ONLY) 

This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. Void where prohibited or restricted by law. Age 18 and over please. Ecopy giveaways are international. Signed/Unsigned paperback or swag giveaways are US only unless otherwise specified. Giveaway will run 05/07/15 to 05/16/15 closing at 12:00 a.m. Winner will be notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to claim their prize; otherwise, a new winner will be chosen. Please allow time (up to two weeks, unless stated otherwise) for the delivery of your book. If you have not received your book within the started time please notify us. In addition, In addition, if the book has yet to release please keep in mind that the book will be distributed within two weeks of it's release date.


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