Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Tortured by Nicole Williams: Blog Tour Review & Excerpt


Blurb:

When he left for a twelve-month deployment, she knew it would feel like forever before they saw each other again. She didn’t realize how right she was.

When Lance Corporal Brecken Connolly gets taken as a POW, Camryn hopes for the best but steels herself for the worst. In the end, steel was what she needed to survive when he didn’t. She moves on the only way she knows how—gilding herself in more steel.

Years go by.
She builds a new life.
She leaves the old one behind.

Until one day, she sees the face of a ghost on the news. Brecken seems to have risen from the dead, but she knows she can’t perform the same miracle for herself. While Brecken was held in a torture camp for the past five years, she’s been trapped in her own kind of prison. One she can't be saved from.

The man she mourned comes back to join the living, but the girl he wanted to spend his life with isn’t the same woman he comes back for. Brecken isn’t the same person either. The past five years have changed them both. While he’s determined to put the pieces back together, she’s resolved to let hers rot where they shattered.

Broken or not, Brecken wants her back. He’ll do anything to achieve that. Even if it means going against the warden of Camryn’s personal prison—her husband.


Click to Buy on Amazon:

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Excerpt:

“It’s been six years. Everything’s changed. I have. You have.” My eyes lifted. “Why? Why are you trying to win me back?”

He exhaled, his lips parting. “I’m going to win you back.”

When his hand slid around the bend of my waist, winding behind my back, I jerked. His touch was different tonight, hungry, determined. My head clouded, blocking out reason or letting it surface to the top, one or the other.

“I married him,” I whispered even as my hand found his chest.

“But you belong to me.”

My eyes closed as he bowed me against him. I wasn’t sure how two bodies that had been as broken as ours could be so strong when joined. “How do you know?”

“I can see it in your eyes. Every time you look at me.” His other hand lifted to my chin, tipping it until our eyes connected. His brow rose slowly, like I was proving his point right that very moment.

“That’s a confident statement.” My voice shook, but my body felt steady. Unwavering.

“It’s the truth.”

My chest was moving so hard, it brushed his with every breath. What was I doing? Where had I found myself? The man holding me had died only to be resurrected six years later. It was too late, but it wasn’t over.

No matter what, Brecken Connolly and I would never be over.

“Twenty-six days,” I said slowly. “That’s all I have to give you. That’s all I have to give. Four weeks. Once he’s back, you know the way it has to be.”

His face broke, but his hold didn’t budge. “It’s not enough.”

My fingers curled into his shirt, looking for some way to hold on to him. “I know.”

His other arm suddenly looped around me and he lifted me off the ground, his grip going around my backside when my legs tied around him. “But a fucking eternity wouldn’t be enough either, so it’ll just have to do.”

He carried me through the sand and up the stairs of the cabin, then he propped me against the wall so he could open the screen door. Something slipped out of my mouth when he flexed his hips into mine.

“Told you it wasn’t a morning issue,” he whispered in my ear, but I could hear the smile in his voice. “Just a Camryn one.”

He made the same motion with his hips, applying a little more friction this time, causing a louder sound to echo from my lungs.

Opening the screen door as silently as he could, he carried me inside.

“You can set me down, you know?” I whispered.

“I know,” he said, his arms tying tighter. Once all of the lights were off, the cabin closed up for the night, he padded down the hall.

“You know where you’re going?”

His head nodded beside mine. “I’ve always known.”

My hands went behind his neck. His skin was warm and familiar. “And where’s that?”

He exhaled against my skin as he closed the bedroom door. “Toward you.”

He set me down once he’d untied my legs from around his waist, and he took a few steps back. He stared at me for a moment then reached for the lamp on the dresser.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Turning on the lights.”

I watched him flip on another. “Why?”

“Because I want to see you. Because I want to watch your face as I move inside you. Because I want to see your skin flush when I make you come.” He flipped on one more light, then all of his attention turned to me. “Because I want to see everything.”

My heart took off as I imagined being intimate with him with every light in the room on. My body wasn’t the same one he’d left. It had carried a burden; it bore the scars of a shattered soul and a broken body. “I don’t want you to see me. Not like that. In the dark, you can imagine the way I was before.”

When I reached for the closest lamp to switch it off, he stopped me. “I don’t want to imagine.” His hand curled around mine, guiding it away from the lamp. “I want the real thing. I want the real you.”

“You’ve seen my body. You know what I look like beneath all of this.” I motioned at the fresh clothes hanging off of me, covering me from my wrists to my ankles to my neck.

“When I look at you, I see beauty and strength, and the one person in the world who gives me a reason to live and a reason to die.” He drew me to him, his face creased in lines of concentration. “That’s what I see when I look at you.”

About the Author:

I'm the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of the CRASH series (HarperTeen, S&S UK), LOST & FOUND series, UP IN FLAMES (S&S UK), The EDEN TRILOGY, and a handful of others. I write stories about everyday kinds of people who find themselves in extraordinary kinds of situations. I tell love stories with happy endings because I believe in making the world a better place, and that's one tiny way I can make it so. I'm one of those people who still believe in true love and soul mates, and would rather keep my head in the clouds any day over having my feet firmly on the ground.

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Review by Michelle:

The wait is over. It's time to be Tortured by Nicole Williams, in more ways than one. The queen of double meaning strikes again. Nicole Williams cleverly lures us in with the promise of the unexpected return of a beloved POW only to sweep the rug right out from under your feet when you realize just how deep the torture truly flows throughout this story.

That blurb gives the perfect idea of just how highly emotional this story is going to be, but as the unthinkable takes place mere pages into the story, the tears well and don't stop flowing from there on out. Your heart will be cracked from the start only to be crushed as the weight of the situation finally becomes clear and trampled as the impossibility of it all sinks in.

Tortured is so much more than I was expecting and even more than I was prepared for. A story of love and loss? For sure. An angst filled story of moving on after devastation only to have your new reality shattered? Without a doubt. A story of the unseverable bond between two people that supersedes all time and circumstance? Definitely. Tortured is also the unanticipated story of desperation, of hopelessness, of regret, and of torture in all its shapes and forms, as well as the beautiful and uplifting story of overcoming, of strength, of commitment, of endurance, of empowerment, and of perseverance.

While the big surprise didn't come as that much of a shock to me, the way in which it is always a question in the back of your mind that is never really addressed until the very end was extremely clever and intriguing. The feelings of uncertainty and second guessing the whole way through associated with this looming suspicion made for a delightfully frustrating and fun internal debate the entire story which I could not have enjoyed or appreciated more.

Keenan is a shining light in this story. So sweet, so heartwarming, so fun, and the much needed levity in a pretty dire situation. This story would be a whole different animal if it weren't for Keenan, in more ways than one. A much needed respite from a heavy second chance romance amongst some very heavy circumstances and some very heavy decisions that have to be made.

A little something different from Nicole Williams. A little more heroic, a little more angsty, a little more action-packed, just as special, just as touching, just as unique, and just as enthralling as ever. Tortured is a powerful second-chance love story and then some.

*complimentary copy provided by author for an honest review

Rating: 4.5 Stars

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