Sunday, September 13, 2015

Drowning to Breathe (Bleeding Stars #2) by A.L. Jackson: Blog Tour Review, Excerpt & Giveaway


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?

Drowning to Breathe is Book 2 in Sebastian and Shea's two-part duet. Their story begins in A Stone in the Sea.
Releases: September 15, 2015

Click to Buy the Bleeding Stars Series on Amazon:


Review by Michelle:

After the heartbreak at the end of A Stone in the Sea, the long awaited sequel, Drowning to Breathe, is finally here and I have to say, A.L. Jackson has outdone herself this time. Chock full of all the secrets, lies, drama, and emotion of the first book, this follow up does an incredible job of rounding out and concluding Baz and Shea's tumultuous romance adding so much more to an already beautiful love story without being overly dramatic, needlessly angsty, or an unnecessary sequel for the sake of drawing out a story.

Just when you think you've uncovered all of Baz and Shea's secrets in the first book, we come to find there is even more buried in Shea's past. Luckily these things aren't possible deal breakers as her previous skeletons threatened to be, but they do still hold tremendous bearing on the future of her and Sebastian's relationship. While Shea holds these truths of her past close with only the best of intentions, the mystery of her past absorbs you as you attempt to place the missing pieces together and wait for the other shoe to drop in hopes that once discovered, the response does not cause devastation and ultimate destruction.

Despite the main characters being celebrities, I really appreciated the reality of this story. Many major hurdles and complications are addressed as well as some real life, day to day issues, in a mature, straightforward, uncomplicated way reinforcing your belief in this couple and their ability to go the long haul. The glimpses into the domestication surrounding the emerging family is what really caught my interest and resonated with me.

While A.L. Jackson is a master at making you feel her character's woes, she always perfectly weaves light throughout making her stories emotional on many levels and nothing too heavy or overbearing. This is especially the case with Drowning to Breathe as such sweetness and good, cuteness and levity is interspersed flawlessly all through creating a story that is both intense and touching as Baz and Shea find that they are even more inexplicably connected than ever imagined. Their lives tightly woven together long before they ever met and bound by a significant connection, all while learning what is truly important to them, forging a family, and hopefully an even more important, unbreakable bond.

Drowning to Breathe is nowhere near the end of this series, thank goodness, though it is the perfect conclusion for Baz and Shea. A more fitting ending to all the angst and drama that make up Shea and Sebastian's unexpected, unintended, turbulent love story could not be written. It will leave you feeling completely satisfied and perfectly content with a lightness in your heart and a smile on your face.

*complimentary copy provided by author in exchange for an honest review

Rating: 4 Stars

Author Bio:

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Pulled and When We Collide.

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. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

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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.”

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