Release Launch/Review Tour: Drowning To Breathe: A.L. Jackson

Drowning to Breathe  
A.L. Jackson  
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Expected September 15, 2015

The danger in pretending is it becoming real...

Sebastian Stone, Sunder front man and guitarist with a rap sheet about ten miles long, escaped to Savannah, Georgia, to get away from the trouble he’d caused.

Not find more of it.

The moment he saw Shea Bentley, he saw beneath all her sweet and innocence to something that went deeper.


Their relationship was built on secrets; their love built on lies.

Sebastian never imagined how deep her secrets went.

When the past and present collide, Sebastian and Shea find themselves fighting for a future neither believed they deserved. Their passion is consuming and their need unending.

Now, holding the truth in his hands, Sebastian is faced with sacrificing everything he’s come to love to protect Shea and his family.

Two pasts intertwined.

Two lives bound.

Will their demons drown them or will Shea and Sebastian finally learn to breathe?

My heart slammed around in my chest and my sight narrowed on one singular goal.
It felt like a lifetime to get to her house, and there was nothing stopping me now. Unlocking her front door, I charged up the stairs. I didn’t pause at her bedroom door. I threw it open. I needed to get to her.
With her back to me, Shea was curled around a pillow on the center of her bed. She startled with the sudden intrusion and jerked up to sitting. Caramel eyes blinked at me through the dim light, confusion and hurt and sorrow.
Motionless, I stood in the doorway as the silence hovered over all our uncertainties.
On all the questions.
But Shea was right.
None of that mattered.
And this was enough.
“Shea.” My voice broke on her name.
I took a step inside and latched the door shut behind me.
Shea’s chin quivered, and she lifted it because I knew this girl wanted to be brave. I knew she was playing through a million scenarios. Mentally going through all the ways I was going to let her go. How I was going to let her down. I knew the words she expected to spill from my mouth because for too long I’d been a coward and a fool, thinking sacrifice was the only way to make this right.
Because every time I turned around, I lost someone I loved.
Not this time.
I swallowed hard. “You want to know what I see when I look at you?”
When the intensity in my voice hit her, Shea choked out a tiny sob.
I took one step closer as I began to speak. “I see someone who’s so fucking sweet and kind that every time I look at her it just about knocks me from my feet, because I’ve had so much bad in my life I don’t know how to stand in her presence. I see someone who I know I don’t deserve, so every time I turn around, I’m runnin’ scared because I’m terrified of ruining everything she is.”
Slowly, I approached her, and she watched me in the shadows. Her hands trembled in her lap as I neared.
“I see someone who deserves the greatest kind of joy.”
Another step closer, and Shea crept toward the side of the bed. She drew a single leg up to her chest. Clinging to it as if it could protect her from any more pain. Everything she felt and wanted and feared was exposed in the expression on her face.
I stopped at the edge of the bed and dropped to my knees.
A small cry escaped her mouth.
Reaching out, I gripped her face in my hands, my fingers burrowing in soft, soft hair.
“I see someone, who even though there’s not a chance in this world I could ever be good enough to have her…good enough to hold her…that’s all I want to do. I see someone I want to protect and love and fight for.”
Tears streamed down her cheeks. She edged even closer and let her legs slip over the side.
I settled myself between her knees and met the storm in her eyes.
“I see beauty and light.”
Those eyes flashed, and emotion crushed my ribs. This girl had me twisted up in every way possible.
Shea gasped when I grabbed her by the waist and pulled her to me. I shifted so I sat on the floor with my back propped against the bed.
Shea was straddling my lap.
Warmth enveloped me. Her heart was pounding, all tucked up against me, right where she belonged.
Her skin felt so soft. Mine lit on fire.
She searched my face and I kept on.
“I see the most fucking gorgeous girl I’ve ever had the pleasure to lay my eyes on.” My voice dropped as I leaned up so I could brush my mouth across her ear. “The pleasure to touch.”
A shiver rolled through her, and I gathered one of her hands between us, threading our fingers. I studied them as I struggled to form the words.
I lifted my gaze and spoke with the most honesty I’d ever allowed myself.
“When I look at you, I see a future I never thought existed, Shea.”

This begins right after the heartbreaking climax of A Stone in the Sea. Shea and Baz are dealing with the fall out from both of their pasts and secrets colliding. There is intense pain, confusion, anger, and a significant devastating loss. And with their new knowledge and the aftermath of the night's events comes the awareness that they might not really know each other at all. The past has once again found a way to try to break them and at the center of it now is an innocent victim.

They are no longer treading water....they are in deep. In the first book She learned many of Sebastian's secrets. But now he is seeing how many secrets Shea was keeping and how intertwined their lives really are. The situation is shocking, terrifying, and dims the hope they were just starting to get a glimpse of.

Baz is a protector by nature and often takes responsibility for others. He is willing to sacrifice his own happiness if needed for those he loves.  But it sometimes gets him in trouble when he makes impulsive decisions or has volatile reactions. I really enjoyed getting beneath his layers and seeing his more vulnerable parts. But there were a few times I wanted to stop him or shake sense into him too. Shea will do anything for her daughter and wants to be strong for her. She also has a protective mode and some of her secrets are to keep those she loves safe. The whole situation brings in questions of trust, exacerbates guilt and self worth issues, and brings in to question the right course of action to help fight most effectively...alone or together?  They are two people that can really see down to the heart of each other, but it is hard to see a way out of the mess their pasts have created.

There are so many issues, secrets, and little connections layered in. Together Shea and Baz break down barriers, fill a void in each other,  and give each other hope. They make each other want to redefine themselves and their future. But in order to have a chance they will have to face past demons and threats. And these threats are significant, prey upon their weaknesses, and the stakes are huge. And even if they can overcome those challenges, they still live in two different worlds and they will have to find a way to merge their present so they can even have a chance at building a future.  

Oh my, the tension and the stress! I just kept trying to figure out any way that their complicated situation would have a chance of working out. This book brought out so many emotions and had me captivated. I adore these characters, flaws and all. Baz and Shea's deep, intense connection is so real, raw and powerful. Their love of little Kallie goes without question.  

The bonds with their friends are strong and supportive. They both already had their make shift families: Him with his younger brother Austin and band members Ash, Lyrik and Zee. And Shea has her Uncle Charlie, April, Tamar, and sweet, precocious Kallie. I love how they all intermix as one extended family group. Shea and Baz have so much love surrounding them and empowering them to fight against the ones that want to do them harm. Every scene with Kallie, especially those between her and Baz tugged at my heartstrings.

I was torn between wanting to savor it and wanting to flip pages faster. I could not figure out how they were going to resolve all of their threats and challenges. I worried, I held my breath, my heart broke, I got mad and frustrated, but I also smiled, laughed, and felt their magnetic connection and love. And I so wanted their love to be able to conquer all. It is definitely a journey with twists, turns, and surprises along the way. It is not easy, they make mistakes, and they have so many external situations to face and the possibility of significant consequences. They also have a lot to learn about themselves and each other along the way. They have to learn to believe, trust, and come to terms with their own personal demons. But despite some of the negative and sad situations, there are also times of sweetness, passion,  and love too. 

A.L. Jackson always manages to blow me away with her layered, in depth stories with intriguing characters, deep connections, and strong emotions. She has a way of bringing you right into the story, making you feel all of the character's hurts and joys. Her style is captivating and immerses you in her lyrical prose and eloquent words while also making you feel the raw need, passion, and intensity. Themes run through this book tying various situations together by a common thread. This one is told in both points of view giving us insight into all of their fears, insecurities, and feelings.

This was a tumultuous, emotional, and powerful conclusion to this duet. I had high expectations and it did not disappoint.  I am looking forward to the rest of the Bleeding Stars series with Lyrik, Austin, Ash and Zee. I am already attached to them and I cannot wait to read their stories. I think I am looking most forward to Sebastian's lost, broken, little brother Austin.

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

This is not a standalone. Readers need A Stone in the Sea to fully enjoy Drowning to Breathe. As a result, some parts of this review may slightly spoil the first book.

Agony. At the end of A Stone in the Sea, I was in agony. And now *finally* the conclusion of this story is here. Despite *needing* this book, I was full of hesitation, anticipation, and anxiety prior to beginning because that was one epic cliffhanger. So much was left hanging in the balance with *all* the players that I was nervous as to the direction Drowning to Breathe would take.

The strength Shea shows through her trials was not always a characteristic she maintained. The flashback scenes did a great job of revealing the backstory of Shea and Martin Jennings and also showing the naive girl she had been, seeking love and acceptance.

Sebastian’s need to protect and shelter Shea and Kallie only grows stronger as he learns who Shea really is. As he learns her history, the control on his temper threatens to snap with major repercussions, because Martin Jennings is already out to ruin him.

I love Kallie’s light and innocence. I was so fearful of what might happen in the time between A Stone in the Sea and Drowning to Breathe that I was terrified to start reading, if for nothing but her safety. But it was also the same reason I had to know what happened next.

I was amazed at the way the backstories entwined. The connections and near overlaps were masterfully crafted in such a way that nothing felt contrived or manufactured, but instead were perfect ties.

These two not only had Jennings’ reappearance to contend with, ut also the secrets of their own keeping and the need to protect the other. Shea is just as concerned with protecting Sebastian from her past as he is with protecting her from losing Kallie.

As I reached the end I couldn’t have loved this book more. But the other thing I realized was that I *need* Austin to have a book. Lyric, Ash, and Zee? I’d read them. But after this book and the revelations within, I *need* Austin to find his happy. I need him whole. Thankfully there is a list of upcoming Bleeding Stars books in the back of this, and his name is definitely on that list. While it may not be the next book, I will wait patiently knowing it is coming.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review.
A Stone in the Sea 
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Our 5 star reviews

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?


A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance. 

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student. She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life. 

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. 

Connect with A.L. Jackson online:www.aljacksonauthor.com
To stay up to date with important news on A.L. Jackson, including new releases, sales, and exclusive specials and excerpts, text “jackson” to 96000 to subscribe! 

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1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on, Tammy & Kim! Tons of love to you both!


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