BLOG TOUR                                       JACOB’S LADDER: Gabe by KATIE ASHLEY

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Jacobs Ladder GABE AMAZON

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As the lead songwriter for Jacob’s Ladder, the last thing Gabe Renard needs is a debilitating case of writer’s block. After years of meaningless one night stands, he’s finding it hard to pen the love-filled ballads the label is requesting. In an effort to clear his mind, Gabe takes his jeep off-roading in the North Georgia Mountains. When a wrong-turn leads to him getting stuck more than just creatively, he’s forced to call for help. To his surprise, the “Ray” who has been sent by Hart Wreckers to his aid is actually “Rae”—a sexy-as-hell spitfire in a pair of tight-as-hell jeans. The combination of Rae’s sassy mouth and rocking body might be the inspiration Gabe needs. But for the first time since becoming a rock star, his advances have been shot down.

Reagan Hart has never been a fan of musicians. In fact, just the mention of one might cause her to throw a tire tool. Her disgust for them started when she was just eight and her mother ran off with a traveling country singer, and it only worsened when at seventeen, her rocker boyfriend knocked her up before blowing out of town. As a single mother taking care of her family’s collision business, Rae doesn’t have time for hook ups, much less a relationship. And if she did make time, a musician would be last on her list, even one as good-looking as Gabe Renard.

Can Gabe find the words to prove not only to Rae, but himself, that she’s the only one for him?

 

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4.5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

A songwriter with writer’s block and a sassy, business owner and small town woman cross paths in the middle of nowhere.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a bad joke? After just one meeting (insert verbal sparring match), Gabe is able to once again pick up a pen, the words flowing like water through a wheel.

Jacob’s Ladder is the first in a new series by the highly acclaimed author Katie Ashley. This is my first foray into her work and I was not disappointed. Jacob’s Ladder is a spin-off series of Katie Ashley’s Runaway Train series. It isn’t necessary that you read the previous series to Jacob’s Ladder, however, some of the secondary characters in this book were main characters, in the previous series. Hearing history and plotlines from Runaway Train and not having read them made me feel like I’d missed out on something. That feeling of missing out did in no part ruin this well structured story.

Rae was a suspicious woman by nature. How many times does life have to kick you in the face before you stay down? Rae never gave up, she hesitated and sometimes ran away from situations she didn’t want to deal with. Fear was a very real thing for her, she had so many high expectations of herself, and of what she should and shouldn’t do. Her past isn’t easy or clear cut, blackness and ghosts drag her down quicker than quicksand. Close to her family, Rae often runs to her sisters or father for advice or help.

Money and fame can’t buy you self esteem. Gabe is talented and successful, but you would never know it from the way he sees himself. He’s in a band and yet to himself he’s always commenting on how badly he sings. That song writing is the only thing that makes him worth something.

Gabe and Rae are two highly independent, stubborn people and the way they are makes this tale oh so much more intriguing. They’re both crazy, insecure and worth so much more than they give themselves credit. To me as a reader there is nothing better than a story with slowburn romance. Both Gabe and Rae have serious insecurity and trust issues, but knowing now what I know, I couldn’t blame either of them for them. They are byproducts of their pasts and of their families, even if their families are loving and supportive.

The emotion and romance in Jacob’s Ladder was fluidly composed, like a classical music piece that rolls over your skin like rain falling from the sky. Nothing was ever easy, but it was, in this humble reviewer’s opinion oh so worth it.

“Would it be too much to ask for you, too?”
“You have me. Mind, body, and soul.”
“And heart?”
“Always.” Without a doubt in my mind.”

EXCERPT:

My tirade was interrupted by my phone ringing. It was Eli.

“Hey man, are you alive?” he questioned.

“Yes, I am.”

“Are you just saying that because the Deliverance people who kidnapped you are forcing you to say that? Cough once into the phone if you’re not okay.”

Rolling my eyes, I laughed in spite of myself. “I have not been abducted by any Deliverance people. I am here in Hayesville of my own volition.”

“Yes, it’s your volition that’s questionable. I mean, you said yourself they don’t even have a Starbucks. What could you possibly still be doing there?”

“Actually, I’m here writing.”

Eli sucked in a breath. “Holy shit. You are?”

When I’d called him the day before, I hadn’t told him anything about Rae or songwriting. Since everything had still been up in the air with her, I’d just told him I was just staying in Hayesville to get away. “Yeah, man. I’ve gotten two songs done already.”

“I’m so fucking proud of you.”

“Thanks. I’m not gonna lie, it sure feels good to be putting words on paper. They’re good words, too, and you know I wouldn’t just say that.”

“I sure do. You are your own worst critic. When were you planning on sharing them with me and Abs?”

“Are you still at Jake and Abby’s?”

“No. I came back to Atlanta the day you left.”

“As soon as I get back to the hotel, I’ll Google Hangout with you guys and play what I have.” At the familiar tingle running up my spine, I said, “Strike that. I think I’m feeling something new coming on.”

“Seriously?”

“Yeah. I’m not too surprised considering I was just with—” I abruptly cut myself off. For reasons I didn’t understand, I didn’t feel ready to tell Eli about Rae.

“You were just with who?”

“Nobody. Forget it.”

“Look, if you’ve fallen in love with some hillbilly woman named Earlene, it’s okay. You don’t have to be ashamed.”

I laughed. “Considering I’ve only been gone for forty-eight hours, I’m not quite sure how I could have fallen in love with a hillbilly.”

“You never know—they move fast.”

“How the hell would you know? Past experience?”

“Just an observation.”

“Whatever.” A knock came on the Jeep’s window, causing my phone to fly out of my hand and onto the passenger seat. When I glanced over, Rae was grinning at me. After I rolled down the window, I said, “Hey.”

“Hey. Listen, I was thinking instead of coming over here, you should just come to the shop to pick me and Linc up. Dad lives closer to the shop than here.”

“Okay. I’ll see you at the shop.”

She smiled. “Okay.” Jerking her chin, she added, “Now get the hell out of here so I can go to work.”

“I’m on it.”

After she waved and headed back to her car, I leaned over and picked up my phone. I knew there wasn’t a chance in hell that Eli had hung up. The minute he heard a female voice, he would be hanging on to every word he possibly could. “Hey. I’m back.”

“Was that Earlene?” he asked teasingly as I cranked the Jeep up.

“No, smartass. Her name is Rae.”

“Sounds like you guys are having dinner tonight.”

“We are, at her father’s house,” I replied as I backed out of Rae’s driveway.

“Mmhmm.”

I laughed. “Like that’s all you have to say. I mean, don’t hurt yourself holding back.”

“It’s just that you said it would be impossible to have fallen in love with a hillbilly girl in two days, yet here you are having dinner with a woman. Not only that, you’re having dinner with her family. Do we need Selma to prepare a press release on your impending nuptials?”

“Har fucking har.”

“Hey, you told me not to hold back. I mean, you’re already eating dinner with her parents—what am I supposed to think?”

“It’s not like that with Rae.”

“Then enlighten me.”

I sucked in a deep breath before unloading the soap opera of what had transpired.

“Holy shit,” Eli remarked when I finished.

“Yeah. Pretty much.”

“I can’t believe you found your muse in the backwoods.”

“It surprised the hell out of me as well, but I’m not going to question it.”

“I wouldn’t either.” After pausing for a moment, Eli asked, “So she’s beautiful, huh?”

“Gorgeous, but not like the fake women I usually go after. She’s real.”

“She’s real or her tits are real?”

Groaning, I replied, “Once again, it’s not like that with her.”

“It’s not like that because she won’t let it be like that,” Eli countered, amusement vibrating in his voice. It was times like these I lamented having a twin brother who knew exactly how my brain worked.

“Yeah, it’s true that she shot me down, but I’m glad she did.”

“Seriously?”

“If we had fucked, who knows what would have happened to my songwriting mojo? I might still be blocked.”

“That’s one way to look at it, and a very mature way, I might add.”

I snickered. “I’m not sure I would trust your judgment on what’s mature.”

Eli laughed. “Whatever. So you really think you have another song brewing?”

“Yep. I’m pulling into the hotel now. Just as soon as I can get to my pen and journal, I’m at it again. Once I get to a stopping point, I’ll text you about doing a Google Hangout with Abby.”

“Sounds good. I’ll call her and let her know what’s going on.”

“Thanks, man. I probably need to text Jake and tell him I’ll be commandeering his Jeep for a little while longer.”

“I don’t think he’ll mind, especially if you’re finally getting the words you need. When do you think you’ll be back?”

“I’m not leaving here until I have enough to fill the album—or until my mojo runs out.”

“I’ll be interested to see what you come up with, but more than the songs, I’m interested to see how things pan out with Rae.”

“You mean you’ll be interested to see if we finally bang.”

“Actually, I was thinking more long-term than that.” Really, Eli?

“Like a relationship?”

“Bingo.”

“Get real, bro.”

“You’re the one who needs to get real, not me.”

“It’s not happening.”

“We’ll see.”

Scowling at the phone, I replied, “If you don’t have anything else to do but give me shit about Rae, I’ll let you go. Unlike someone else I know, I have work to do.”

Eli chuckled. “Whatever, man. Call me when you’re done penning our next CMA winner.”

“I don’t know about that, but I’ll let you know when the next song is done.

“You do that—oh, and tell Rae hello for me.”

“I will.”

“And thanks for putting up with my knuckleheaded brother.”

I laughed. “Goodbye, Eli.”

“Bye, Gabe.”

Meet Katie

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she became a full-time writer.

Connect with Katie!

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                            EXCERPT REVEAL                                               LOVE ME KNOT by RC BOLDT

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HLMK- Teaser 4

 

Sometimes love needs a second chance…

I never looked back after skipping out on my own wedding, even if it did leave me estranged from most of my family. Eight years later, I have the life I’ve always wanted. As an advertising account executive, my world is damn near perfect.

Until I come face-to-face with my past. With the man I once loved. The man who holds my future in his hands. The man who’s hell-bent on getting even with me for leaving him at the altar.

Even with all the unfinished business between us, I still love Knox Montgomery. The only problem?

He loves me…KNOT.

HLMK -Teaser 2

EXCERPT:

PROLOGUE

EMMA JANE

“BLESS HER HEART.”

This—the quintessential Southern phrase “bless her heart”—is the ultimate kiss of death.

The irony isn’t lost on me since I just avoided my own kiss of death, figuratively speaking. Instead of walking down the aisle, I’m trudging along the Pensacola Beach boardwalk in my wedding dress.

Alone.

With tear-stained cheeks.

Two elderly women peer at me, blatant curiosity etched across their features, and one turns to the other to hiss, “I wonder if the groom left her.”

“Would you blame him?” the other woman responds, disdain dripping from her tone. “She’s got a”—she utters the next words much like they’re absolutely scandalous—“nose piercing.”

The dark glare I direct at them is concealed by my sunglasses, so with a dismissive huff, I continue plodding along, swiping a hand across my tear-streaked cheeks. Judging by the black smudges on my fingers, my waterproof mascara clearly lied.

Damn jackass mascara.

Damn jackass groom. I’m starting to see a trend here…

The longer I walk, the more stares I get. One little girl in a tutu bathing suit points to the top of my head and squeals with joy, “Look! A princess!”

Damn jackass tiara and veil my mother insisted I wear.

I march over to a large trash bin and—without any finesse whatsoever—begin tugging the pins holding this awful tiara-veil combo in place. As I’m attempting to remove it, agitation takes over due to my sad lack of progress. I bunch the veil in my fists and give it a firm tug from my elaborate up-do. Bobby pins shoot and ping in various directions, and I distractedly pray no one gets too close and loses an eye. Shoving the obscene length of fabric in the trash, I feel a bit lighter.

The June sun beats down on me as I stand on the stamped cement of the boardwalk, the heat radiating through the soles of my favorite flip-flops. My eyes flutter closed as I inhale a deep breath of the salty Gulf of Mexico air.

God, I love this beach. It’s always been one of my favorites, especially since it takes just under an hour to drive here from Mobile. The water is a gorgeous shade of blue-green, and the sand is perfectly white and free of pesky shells. Any other time, I’d be kicking off my flip-flops and running toward the surf. Now, though, I have different priorities: a stiff drink. Or ten.

Or twenty.

The challenge is finding a place where I might not draw attention—er, as much attention. I slowly survey the nearby choices of bars and restaurants lined up along the boardwalk; I scan and dismiss them one by one.

“No…no…no…n—”

Wait a minute.

One particular sign snags my eye. It has an outline of two men standing back to back, their forms filled with a swirl of rainbows and the name Be-Bob’s written in script-like font beneath it.

A gay bar.

Perfect.

With my key ring clipped to my small wristlet, I stalk over to the bar, doing my best to ignore the startled looks and gawking from other beachgoers. Tugging open the heavy door, I step over the threshold and into the brisk air conditioning.

Into a place where I might find slightly more acceptance.

I slide my sunglasses to rest atop my head and take a moment to allow my eyes to adjust to the dimmer light. There are only about eight people scattered about, chatting over drinks. When I don’t earn more than a brief glance before they return to their own conversations, I breathe my first sigh of relief. Most of the patrons are likely indulging in the great weather and enjoying a Saturday at the beach, not looking for refuge and hiding out like I am.

I scan the framed photos that adorn the walls featuring local drag queens and scantily clad male models before striding over to the bar. I hoist myself up onto a worn leather bar stool, and catch the eye of the only bartender behind the counter. He appears to be taking inventory of the liquor, if his clipboard is anything to go by.

When he turns around and gets the full visual of me, his expression is priceless, his eyebrows nearly hitting his hairline. I’d laugh if I had it in me, but I’m emotionally spent.

As he regards what’s visible to him from the top of the bar on up to my hair, his light brown eyes soften and the corners of his mouth tip up slightly. Without batting an eye, he reaches below the counter and produces a wet wipe. I gratefully accept it and he rests his forearms upon the lacquered surface, regarding me with interest as I rid my cheeks of the dark mascara streaks.

The bartender waits until I’m finished and then accepts the wipe from me before tossing it into the trash.

“Well, I can’t say I’ve ever served a runaway bride before.” My makeup-fail savior appears to gauge me, as if expecting me to burst into a river of tears.

Funny enough, the drive here has expended me of those and I’m firmly entrenched in the anger stage of my fiancé’s betrayal.

I prop an elbow on the bar, rest my chin on my palm, and offer what I know is the weakest excuse for a smile. “There’s a first time for everything, right?”

He doesn’t immediately answer, eyeing me curiously until his lips stretch into an easy smile. His eyes do that little crinkly thing at the corners and he has what I call “kind eyes.”

Then again, I remind myself, what the hell do I know?

I’m clearly not the best judge of people. That much has become all too evident.

The bartender reaches out a hand. “Casey.”

I grasp his hand, noting his impressive manicure. This guy’s cuticles are better than mine and I love the shade of metallic gray polish on his nails. “Nice to meet you, Casey. I’m Emma Jane.”

He reaches beneath the bar and I hear a clinking as he scoops ice, before he brings a cup into view. Then he works his magic, and pours in a bit of this and that from one bottle to the next. Finally, with flourish—and a maraschino cherry tossed in—he slides the plastic cup across the smooth surface.

“It’s my special, secret mix. I call it”—he leans in toward me and lowers his voice, his eyes dancing with mischief—“the Panty Dropper.”

One of my brows arches as I stare back at him with dismayed skepticism. “I hardly think I’m a prime panty-dropping candidate right now.”

Casey lifts a shoulder in a half shrug, his eyes flickering over my shoulder before returning to me. His smile grows wider. “You never can tell.”

With a tiny laugh, I shake my head and wrap my lips around the straw to take a sip of the concoction he’s made me. Just as I swallow the sweet drink, I both feel and smell a person sidle up next to me at the bar.

Hell. The reason I came here was because I thought for sure my chances of getting hit on would be slim to none. But, as I glance at him from the corner of my eye, I observe strong, muscled forearms, tanned and sprinkled with dark hair. The scent of him is appealing and masculine, a cologne that doesn’t overpower. Just the sight of those arms alone, however, makes me incredibly wary to see the rest of him.

Casey doesn’t address the newcomer, his focus still on me. “I’m all ears, Emma Jane. Been told I’m a great listener.”

Good Lord. Where do I even start?

Before I can answer, the man speaks up, his deep voice booming. “Are you cheating on me, Case?” He makes what sounds like a gasp of exaggerated indignation. “I can’t believe you’d betray me like this.”

I glance up to see Casey’s expression full of mirth, and he rolls his eyes. “You know better. I’m still waiting on you to switch over.”

A husky laugh greets my ears and it sounds far too male—far too appealing—which is why I refuse to turn and look at the man beside me.

“I might switch if you’d agree to root for my team.”

“Not gonna happen,” Casey scoffs before his gaze meets mine. “Isn’t that drink exactly what the doctor ordered?”

I muster up a smile because he seems like a sweet guy. “It is.” With a start, I realize I haven’t given him my card to pay or at least start a tab. I reach for my wristlet. “What do I owe you?”

He waves me off. “Honey, that one’s on me as long as you promise to dish before we get slammed in a few hours.”

A loud exhale spills past my lips. “It’s a pathetic story, really.”

“Let me guess.” Mr. Forearms’s husky voice is a deep timbre, amusement threaded in his tone. “You caught him with your maid of honor.”

I let out a harsh laugh and fiddle with my straw, using it to move around the ice cubes in my drink. “Nope.” If only it were that simple, I muse internally.

“Caught him with his best man?”

This time, his suggestion drags a lighter sounding laugh from me. “Not even.”

“Well, you know I can’t leave here without hearing the story. I’m intrigued.”

This guy is something else, that’s for sure. His voice is the epitome of sexy, and yet, even with all that’s transpired, I have zero interest.

Finally, I drag my attention from my drink and my eyes travel up those muscled forearms, over the bulging biceps stretching the short sleeves of a dark-blue polo shirt and up to the face that—

My breath catches in my throat as recognition floods me, my eyes widening as I take in the man beside me.

Becket Jones, the quarterback for the NFL team in Jacksonville, Florida. He’s a two-time Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida and had been the second overall draft pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Adding to that impressive resumé, he’s been recently voted MVP and is also a Lombardi Trophy recipient. His face is in commercials and on billboards everywhere. Living in Mobile, Alabama, and in a state without a pro football team, most of us either gravitate toward the Atlanta Falcons, the New Orleans Saints, or the Jacksonville Jaguars.

I don’t follow NFL as closely as college football, but I’d have to live under a rock to not recognize Becket and his pretty-boy face. Even beneath the brim of the ball cap, which curls under at the edges and draws shadows over his eyes, I’d recognize that wide charming smile of his anywhere. He’s slouching against the bar but I know he pushes well over six feet.

His features cloud as he observes my response, his large hand reaching up to tug his cap lower. “Please don’t tell me you’re going to sell some seedy story about seeing me in a gay bar to a stupid gossip rag.”

“Of course not. I’m just…” I falter for a moment, “surprised.”

His chin lifts, gesturing to a couple of guys standing nearby a jukebox, laughing and talking. One of them is wearing a shirt with bright pink flamingos printed on it, along with a yellow feather boa draped around his neck.

“I’m with my brother, Brantley—the one who insisted on that crazy getup—and his roommate, Vonn, whose birthday we’re celebrating.” His eyes flicker to them briefly, obvious affection in his gaze, before returning to me. “I drove in from Jacksonville late last night to join them.”

I nod politely, not sure what to say. “Well, I hope you guys have a great night.” I turn back to my drink and studiously take another sip of the dangerous concoction while acknowledging Casey and Becket’s attention is fixed on me with unfettered curiosity. This drink is deliciously sweet and I know it’s masking the copious amount of liquor Casey put in it. And I can’t get hammered. I should—and I really want to—but I can’t. I have bigger fish to fry.

Like figuring out my freaking life.

With a long sigh, I unzip my wristlet and withdraw my cell phone—whose ring had been silenced—to face the “music” I know is about to blare at me.

Let this be noted as mistake number one. Because I’m certain my phone is going to overheat from the number of text messages and missed calls I’ve received already. Mainly, the ones from my father.

Dad: You’d better get back here now, young lady.

I continue scrolling past all of his other messages until I get to the last one, time stamped from about five minutes ago.

Dad: Consider yourself disowned. Don’t even think of coming back to this house after the way you’ve embarrassed everyone.

Huh. Well, thank heavens I’d already thought of that and had made a quick stop at the house before driving here. I’d scooped up the items I’d need most, knowing my father’s reaction would be extreme. Maybe I was delusional, but I’d hoped it wouldn’t come to this.

Just as I’m about to place my phone back in my wristlet and avoid the remainder of the painful messages sure to come, another one comes in.

Dad: Forget your job at the magazine. It’s done. You’re done. You did this, Emma Jane.

My chest tightens and my stomach churns sickly. I knew it was coming but it doesn’t make it any less devastating. I’d worked my ass off for Southern Charm Lifestyle magazine at their new location in Mobile. I know I have the potential to rise up in the ranks.

But now it’s gone. Poof. All because of my father. The one and only Davis Haywood, city councilman, owner of the local newspaper and the city’s largest magazine, and commercial developer galore. He has the money and power to make things happen in Mobile.

I just never thought he’d use that money and power against his own daughter one day.

“So.” Becket startles me, so caught up in my own drama-filled thoughts. “You might not know this about me, but I was brought up to be a gentleman.”

I regard him warily, unsure where he’s going with this. “O-kay,” I drag out the word slowly.

“This means I can’t leave you sitting at this bar, staring down at your phone, looking like your puppy just died.”

I shoot him a hard glare that would normally cause people to rear back…but then I recall that this man faces the risk of being tackled by two-hundred-plus-pound men on any given game day.

So, as much as my dangerously narrowed eyes might flare with the “Don’t even go there” vibe, my glare does nothing.

He looks around first before slipping his ball cap around on his head, the brim now at the back. And honestly, on any other grown man, it would look juvenile. On Becket Jones, however, it actually looks cute.

Casey slides a bottle of water to him, which Becket uncaps before downing half of it. Resting his arms on the bar, he playfully nudges me with his shoulder.

“Go ahead. Spill.”

Exhaling loudly, I peer up at him skeptically. “You really want—”

“To hear all the sordid details?” He grins at me, nearly blinding me with his pearly white teeth. “Absolutely.”

Shaking my head at him, I take another sip of my drink and toy with my straw, making the ice cubes clink together within my cup. “Fine. But don’t you dare give me a bless your heart that’s chock-full of pity.”

“Deal.”

Letting a long sigh loose, I answer, my voice muted and laced with pain. And I hate the way it sounds.

“I’m running from a man who doesn’t really love me.”

HLMK-Teaser 6

About the Author:

RC Boldt is the wife of Mr. Boldt, a retired Navy Chief, mother of Little Miss Boldt, and former teacher of many students. She currently lives on the southeastern coast of North Carolina, enjoys long walks on the beach, running, reading, people watching, and singing karaoke. If you’re in the mood for some killer homemade mojitos, can’t recall the lyrics to a particular 80’s song, or just need to hang around a nonconformist who will do almost anything for a laugh, she’s your girl.

Follow RC, she’d love to hear from you!

Email: rcboldtbooks@gmail.com

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Newsletter

5 ★ REVIEW ~ DRIVE by KATE STEWART

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Title: Drive

Author: Kate Stewart 

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 13th October, 2017

Cover Design: Q Designs

 

 

 

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BLURB

Music . . . the heart’s greatest librarian.

The average song is three and a half minutes long; those three and a half minutes could lead to a slow blink, a glimpse of the past, or catapult the soul into heart-shattering nostalgia.

At the height of my career, I had the life I wanted, the life I’d always envisioned. I’d found my tempo, my rhythm. Then I received a phone call that left me off key.

You see, my favorite songs had a way of playing simultaneously. I was in love with one man’s beats and another’s lyrics. But when it came to the soundtrack of a life, how could anyone choose a favorite song? So, to erase any doubt, I ditched my first-class ticket and decided to take a drive, fixed on the rearview.

Two days.

One playlist.

And the long road home to the man who was waiting for me.

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★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse

Seeing that Drive had been highly recommended to me by my book buddies, I succumbed to one-clicking and to be quite honest, had no regrets whatsoever. But more important, they knew this standalone novel would get me out of the horrendous book slump I was in. This is the first book I’ve read by this author and I must confess that I had no wish to put pen to paper! What. A. Shocker! Now then; there are two reasons. Firstly, I don’t do rock star romances. I have in the past and as they’ve never grabbed me, I truly didn’t know what to expect from this one. Secondly, I just wanted to sit back and enjoy the book and make no notes. Saying that,  I couldn’t help but highlight more than one heart-wrenching passage. The beginning of this book was a cruel tease to put it mildly, and having been previously warned to brace myself, to put my big girl panties on, helped little. This complex love story is executed in such a way that it was like going on an unforeseen journey overflowing with emotions…Thoughtfully played out on the author’s part, her canny narrative kept me on tenterhooks throughout the book which in itself, is highly commendable and get this, literally knocked me for six!

“I want you in a million different ways, but when you look at me like that, all I can think of is one.”

Stella is my perfect heroine. So damn sassy, so loud-mouthed, nosey and so blinkin’ unpretentiouswhose ambitions were to become a music journalist, managed to weave her very being under my skin at the drop of a hat. She made me gasp, cry and shout out aloud explicits that weren’t actually due… You have to get to know this gal knocking on 20ish to appreciate her stance and even when the tough gets going, her positive attitude reflects on how strong she is, her ‘drive’.

“I can’t believe you’re giving up. If you could only for one second, see what I see. Just believe in me,” 

I wasn’t the only one to battle alongside Reid, a struggling but brilliant drummer. His bestie who was too close to home for my liking, happens to be Stella’s older sister and only she and another true friend really knew what he was going through. Consequently, Paige’s protective actions had such a devastating effect that I could have bashed her on the head with my Kindle. Of course, the cat isn’t let out of the bag until well into the story which made the constant angst unbearable.

‘I existed before Reid, lived through loving him, and was left to exist again while knowing what living felt like.’

However unfair true love can be, both Nate and Reid showed me that if you fight enough for it, it is in your grasp. Love is enough for healing, it’s enough waiting for, it’s irrational and difficult to control. Also, the past influences when it catches up, memories are hard to live with and can too easily break up a relationship. My feeling were totally divided…if I wanted Nate to win Stella’s undying affection, I thought Reid deserved her just as much. All these points are extremely well conveyed…not always logical as is in the ways of the heart, but made me see our feelings are indeed on par with the opposite sex. I adored Nate’s patience. Winning Stella over was like listening to a game of verbal foreplay, their tooing and froing a pleasure to read. Never mincing words, Nate new what he wanted from word go. Then again, however detached Reid seemed to be, Stella’s encouragement silently brought out the best in him. So how on earth this gorgeous gal gets herself into such a love-pickle is for you guys to find out!  

‘What was it about a woman’s psyche that refuses to let us ignore the old aches, the ancient pains, and the memories of the men we bind ourselves to?’

Flipping the pages at a ridiculous speed didn’t sate my need to find out would happen, what was on the cards for these three beautiful people. I was even tempted to take a peek at the ending. Thank goodness I didn’t cave in and kept on reading! Reid I had to learn to love, Nate I fell madly for since he could do no wrong. I loved the story’s timespan and the spot on secondary character development didn’t just transport me into their lives, each and everyone of them drove home the influence music has on us. Stella’s bestie’s always in the foreground even when there are miles between them, the band and family members with all their traits, were essential to the making of an unforgettable read. I was bowled over by the interactive playlist that you just have to listen to. The author’s taste in music is fabulously eclectic…loved how she melded the songs into the scenes! What more can I say without spoiling this second chance romance for you! Ms Stewart, thank you for swaying my opinion regarding rock star romances. BRAVO!

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Meet Kate

Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart lives in Charleston, S.C. with her husband, Nick, and her naughty beagle, Sadie. A native of Dallas, Kate moved to Charleston three weeks after her first visit, dropping her career of 8 years, and declaring it her creative muse. Kate pens messy, sexy, angst-filled contemporary romance as well as romantic comedy and erotic suspense because it’s what she loves as a reader. A lover of all things ’80s and ’90s, especially John Hughes films and rap, she dabbles a little in photography, can knit a simple stitch scarf for necessity only and does a horrible job of playing the ukulele. Aside from running a mile without collapsing, traveling is the only other must on her bucket list. On occasion, she does very well at vodka.

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NEW ~ JACOB’S LADDER by KATIE ASHLEY

JACOB’S LADDER: Gabe by Katie Ashley is LIVE!

Jacobs Ladder GABE AMAZON

AMAZON: U.S | U.K | CANADA | AUSTRALIA
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As the lead songwriter for Jacob’s Ladder, the last thing Gabe Renard needs is a debilitating case of writer’s block. After years of meaningless one night stands, he’s finding it hard to pen the love-filled ballads the label is requesting. In an effort to clear his mind, Gabe takes his jeep off-roading in the North Georgia Mountains. When a wrong-turn leads to him getting stuck more than just creatively, he’s forced to call for help. To his surprise, the “Ray” who has been sent by Hart Wreckers to his aid is actually “Rae”—a sexy-as-hell spitfire in a pair of tight-as-hell jeans. The combination of Rae’s sassy mouth and rocking body might be the inspiration Gabe needs. But for the first time since becoming a rock star, his advances have been shot down.

Reagan Hart has never been a fan of musicians. In fact, just the mention of one might cause her to throw a tire tool. Her disgust for them started when she was just eight and her mother ran off with a traveling country singer, and it only worsened when at seventeen, her rocker boyfriend knocked her up before blowing out of town. As a single mother taking care of her family’s collision business, Rae doesn’t have time for hook ups, much less a relationship. And if she did make time, a musician would be last on her list, even one as good-looking as Gabe Renard.

Can Gabe find the words to prove not only to Rae, but himself, that she’s the only one for him?

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4.5 Stars ~ Reviewed by Emma-Louise on behalf of KFF

A songwriter with writer’s block and a sassy, business owner and small town woman cross paths in the middle of nowhere.  Now, doesn’t that sound like a bad joke? After just one meeting (insert verbal sparring match), Gabe is able to once again pick up a pen, the words flowing like water through a wheel.

Jacob’s Ladder is the first in a new series by the highly acclaimed author Katie Ashley. This is my first foray into her work and I was not disappointed. Jacob’s Ladder is a spin-off series of Katie Ashley’s Runaway Train series. It isn’t necessary that you read the previous series to Jacob’s Ladder, however, some of the secondary characters in this book were main characters, in the previous series. Hearing history and plotlines from Runaway Train and not having read them made me feel like I’d missed out on something. That feeling of missing out did in no part ruin this well structured story.

Rae was a suspicious woman by nature. How many times does life have to kick you in the face before you stay down? Rae never gave up, she hesitated and sometimes ran away from situations she didn’t want to deal with. Fear was a very real thing for her, she had so many high expectations of herself, and of what she should and shouldn’t do. Her past isn’t easy or clear cut, blackness and ghosts drag her down quicker than quicksand. Close to her family, Rae often runs to her sisters or father for advice or help.

Money and fame can’t buy you self esteem. Gabe is talented and successful, but you would never know it from the way he sees himself. He’s in a band and yet to himself he’s always commenting on how badly he sings. That song writing is the only thing that makes him worth something.

Gabe and Rae are two highly independent, stubborn people and the way they are makes this tale oh so much more intriguing. They’re both crazy, insecure and worth so much more than they give themselves credit. To me as a reader there is nothing better than a story with slowburn romance. Both Gabe and Rae have serious insecurity and trust issues, but knowing now what I know, I couldn’t blame either of them for them. They are byproducts of their pasts and of their families, even if their families are loving and supportive.

The emotion and romance in Jacob’s Ladder was fluidly composed, like a classical music piece that rolls over your skin like rain falling from the sky. Nothing was ever easy, but it was, in this humble reviewer’s opinion oh so worth it.

“Would it be too much to ask for you, too?”
“You have me. Mind, body, and soul.”
“And heart?”
“Always.” Without a doubt in my mind.”

 

Meet Katie

Katie Ashley is a New York Times, USA Today, and Amazon Best-Selling author of both Indie and Traditionally published books. She lives outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her daughter, Olivia, and her spoiled mutt, Duke. She has a slight obsession with Pinterest, The Golden Girls, Shakespeare, Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Scooby-Doo.

With a BA in English, a BS in Secondary English Education, and a Masters in Adolescent English Education, she spent eleven years teaching both middle and high school English, as well as a few adjunct college English classes. As of January 2013, she became a full-time writer.

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