Behind the Bars, the first beautiful and emotional standalone in the all-new Music Street Series from Brittainy C. Cherry is available NOW!
When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
I was the awkward musician, and she was the high school queen.
The only things we had in common were our music and our loneliness.
Something in her eyes told me her smile wasn’t always the truth.
Something in her voice gave me a hope I always wished to find.
And in a flash, she was gone.
Years later, she was standing in front of me on a street in New Orleans.
She was different, but so was I. Life made us colder. Harder. Isolated.
Even though we were different, the broken pieces of me recognized the sadness in her.
Now she was back, and I wouldn’t make the mistake of letting her go again.
When I first met Jasmine Greene, she came in as raindrops.
When we met again, she was the darkest storm.
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★ ★ ★ ★
Reviewed by Sharon Thérèse
When Cherry puts pen to paper, the reader knows the eloquence of her writing is going to be spoil them. She simply has a way with words and in the case of Behind the Bars, her narrative is nothing less than lyrical. An extremely high standard was set with the publication of The Air He Breathes and quite honestly difficult to beat. However, I have to say her latest full-length novel had me enthralled. And seeing as I’m a lover of Jazz, the references made to this music genre in its birthplace of New Orleans was outstanding. The cover has to be mentioned, too. The protagonists have been meaningfully depicted not as teenagers, but as a requiem of two mature souls who intentions are to be together in their musical world.
“No woman can only fall in love with the music of jazz. She always quietly yearns for the musician behind the bars.”
Although I’m an avid music listener, I’m not so keen on reading love stories about musicians. Ah, but this one is so very different and not at all what I expected! Once again, Cherry’s storytelling wizardry seduced me. Some would say she’s written a second chance romance. I’d say it’s about friends who lost their way in the worst possible scenario and after much suffering, eventually find a sliver of light worth fighting for. That light came from a source which I can’t possibly mention without spoiling the read for you, but believe you me, Cherry went to great lengths to get the message home with a sensitivity second to none.
“…music shouldn’t live in a basement. It’s meant to be spread around to fix people’s scars or something. I hate doing it.”
Words didn’t flow easily for Elliot Adams. He interpreted them the only way he knew how; by playing chords on the bar lines, by giving his natural gift all he had to give, making himself be heard. But this wasn’t the only reason someone’s attention was brought to him. Unfortunately, growing up with a handicap at school can not only become a burden, but also a nightmare. I fell head over heels for Elliot and everything he went through, broke my heart into smithereens. The crux of the matter comes to a head too late. The damage is done to a damaged soul…and I cried.
“In life, you have the nobodies and the somebodies,” he explained. “It just so happens I’m a nobody.”
If Elliot was going through hell, Jasmine Greene had her own problems of a completely different nature. Her eventual maturity astounded me, so why did I not take to her as quickly as I would have liked to is probably because I thought she could have stood up for herself more. She certainly knew how to stand up for others; however, I felt some of her actions were erroneous and unnecessary, causing more harm than good. Clearly, her intentions were to help and protect, not hinder or aggravate matters further. Also, she was too eager to please and would do anything to make that one person who had a strong hold on her, whose ambitious determination reflected on their own persona, love her for what she was. Not because Jasmine had a deep-rooted musical aptitude. Here, I have to say that as always, the author’s character and storyline development is sublime.
“Being strong is loving the broken pieces of your loved ones.”
As the story unravels, time is of great consequence and not to be taken lightly since the reader is taken on a healing journey; an insightful and extremely emotional recovery of two beautiful broken protagonists. It becomes a reflection on how to forgive and is certainly a harsh lesson we could all learn from. Told from both points of view in past, what I really liked was how Elliot would turn a comment into a question. And I can’t say how much I loved Cherry’s narrative of family values which reminded me never to take life’s simple things for granted. An excellent read I highly recommend one-clicking. Bravo Cherry!
“I’m going to kiss you?”
I laughed lightly. “Is that a question?”
By the way, what happened to Todd’s nose?” I asked.
“I broke it,” Elliott said matter-of-factly.
“What? How? Why?”
He shrugged before turning to look out the window. “He called you a bad name.”
“What was it?”
“It doesn’t matter.”
“Eli,” I started.
He turned my way and locked his hazel eyes with my browns. “Jazz…” He shook his head. “It wasn’t true.”
I swallowed hard, a big part of me certain Todd’s words held some form of truth.
Elliott saw it in me—my fear. He kept shaking his head and whispered, “I don’t feel sorry for you. Sometimes you look at me like you think I feel sorry for you, and I want you to know I don’t. I think you’re perfect the way you are.”
I quietly laughed at him repeating the words I’d told him earlier. A few tears rolled down my cheeks. “I’m a little messed up.”
“I know.” He nodded. “That’s why I like you.”
He went back to staring out the window, and I kept staring at him.
And there it was.
So small, so tiny, so real.
It wasn’t love, but it was the beginning of it.
I knew I was young, and I knew it was stupid, but in that moment, I began to fall in love with the quiet boy who quietly cared for me. The boy who was scared and still strong. The boy who stood up for me when he was surrounded by reasons not to do such a thing. I hadn’t known much about love. I hadn’t known how it looked, felt, or tasted. I hadn’t known how it moved, how it flowed, but I knew my heart was tight and currently skipping a few beats. I understood the goose bumps covering my arms. I knew this stuttering boy who was sometimes so scared was someone worth loving. He was worth being the first one I gave my heart to.
I knew Elliott Adams was love.
And I was falling into him so fast.