Title: IN RUINS
Author: Danielle Pearl
Series: Something More, #1
On Sale: October 4, 2016
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The first New Adult spin-off novel in the bestselling YA Something More series by Danielle Pearl!
She wanted to start again. To be someone—anyone—different. . .
Freedom. When Carleigh Stanger thought of college, that was the word that came to mind. Freedom from her unhappy home life. Freedom from high school mistakes. Freedom from the memory of that terrible morning. Only instead of bringing a sweet escape, Carleigh's first campus party traps her in the scornful gaze of the last person she wants to see, Tucker Green.
It wasn't long ago that being close to Carleigh was everything Tucker wanted. But that was before he realized she was just another scheming girl who'd do whatever it took to get her way. Even lie to the guy she claimed to love. Unfortunately while Tucker's brain remembers the pain Carleigh caused, his body only remembers the pleasure . . .
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Carleigh (Carl) Stanger is looking for a new beginning. Freedom. That is what college will bring. She can start over. No longer carry the heavy baggage she once did in high school. This is until one night at a party she sets her eyes on the man who was once the love of her life, Tucker Green. He doesn’t look happy to see her. He looks disappointed. Disgusted. And all the pain and their past comes rushing back with what she did. But there’s also something in his eyes that she will never forget. The way they still spoke to her heart. Yet, Carl can’t believe she is looking into the eyes of the man who simply let her go.
“Because I didn’t know then that he could do something worse than end us. That he could erase us.”
Carl and Tucker find it impossible to ignore each other on campus. So they simply exist, at times ignoring each other even while in the same room. Their circumstances keep them apart. Can they ever go back to what they once were? Is friendship even an option? Their emotions are still so raw. There are battle wounds there that are not healed. Their deep connection? Now severed. There were words exchanged that cut each other deep. And the love for each other? In ruins. But their love still remains. It still stands. What will it take for that love to come to light?
“That’s what Tucker is. He is light in darkness.”
Tucker Green. His love protects. And you feel it the moment the first time he sees Carl since their devastating breakup. Despite the lies, the heartbreak, and the unspoken truths, their love is palpable. Your heart will ache for them. And the time they have lost. Their unwavering current of love is inspiring. Transcending. Consuming. Absolute. Their earth shattering love story will annihilate your heart yet slowly piece it back together.
The writing is absolutely flawless in its delivery and captivating in it’s execution. I was consumed from the very last page and did not put the book down until the very last. The author inherently and masterfully weaves a touching story about two people with an unequivocal and powerful connection that were ripped apart because of secrets and uncovered truths. With her unparalleled talent, Ms. Pearl has this innate ability to deliver riveting and vivid scenes. This was highlighted as she effortlessly placed readers between past and present with dual POVs.
In Ruins is a powerful and astoundingly moving story that simply defies everything you ever felt about getting a second chance at love. Carl and Tucker battle a lot of their own demons, but it is their love that will make your heart race. This is no cookie cutter love story. It will leave you speechless as you are placed within the pages. The courage to love again is compelling.The perseverance of their love will inspire you. Their pure unadulterated love will make you weep, smile, and promise to never doubt what love can truly endure. The author is authentic in her approach to showing that love is more about loving someone through darkness rather than loving them in the light. She is skillful in how she tackles relevant themes in this book. Emotional, gripping, and brilliantly written, In Ruins easily holds a spot as one of my top reads this year.
I linger half in a dream, wondering why I feel as if I'm waking up inside my past. My fingers automatically reach to the base of my throat for the white gold crown charm Tucker gave me before graduation last year, a reminder that I would always be his princess. But always didn’t last, and my fingers come up empty as I recall tearing off the necklace and stuffing it unceremoniously into my bathroom drawer minutes after he broke my heart.
The subtle scent of fresh spring soap, aftershave, and the faint musk of last night's sweat ambushes my senses. My eyes flutter open to find dawn breaking in through the window shades. It's still early enough that I doubt anyone else will be awake for a while, but I know that whether it's minutes or an hour, once Tucker's eyes open, it won't be long before I'm asked to leave.
It takes no more than another second or two to register the pattern of his breathing, too lively to indicate sleep, and I stiffen above him. I swallow anxiously and reluctantly look up.
He's watching me, gaze impassive, but his arms don't move. His fingertips dance, feather-light along the small of my back, and I wonder if it's what woke me. I clear my throat, though I have no idea what to say in this moment. But Tucker speaks first.
"This can't happen again. You know that, right?"
I nod. Because I do know. We'll never be friends if we blur the lines with this. Not just the sex. Not even mostly the sex. But this. This intimacy. This is what could break us. Break me.
In an instant, the haze of last night's lust begins to lift, and anxiety settles in its place. Because I doubt I could survive his breaking my heart a second time, and that’s precisely what I’m setting myself up for. I’ve laid my own trap, and I need to free myself before it’s too late.
"We shouldn't be laying in bed like this," I tell him.
His smile is wistful. "I know."
But he makes no move to disentangle himself from me. Instead, he does the opposite, his hand leisurely roving up the avenue of my spine, as if it’s going for a Sunday drive.
I shrug it from my body and sit up, startling him. "Stop doing that," I snap.
"Touching you?" His brow furrows.
"No! Yes. Touching me, and agreeing with me but continuing this... this affection anyway."
"Sorry," he murmurs half-heartedly.
"No you're not."
He frowns as I yank the sheet out from under the bedspread and drape it around myself.
"Maybe it was wrong of me," I admit. "Coming here last night. Maybe I was stupid to believe we could just hook up and walk away. Or that I could. But Tucker, if you wanted to fuck me, then why couldn't you just fuck me?" My words drown in regret. "You can't say these things—about my eyes, how you think about me... You can't stare at me the way you do, or call me Princess. It isn't fair."
"No, Tuck. You know how I feel about you. And you said it yourself. When you love someone more than your own life, you don't let them go for anything." I stare at him meaningfully. "Anything."
Tucker shakes his head, eyes lined with exasperation. "Carl, I tried to talk to you about that last night—"
"No, Tuck. I get it now," I assure him. "And maybe I always should have known. But you must have, right? Or at least you do now."
"Know what?" His brow furrows deeply, vaguely bewildered.
I glare at him, trying to determine if he's undermining my intelligence or if I'm somehow not making sense. But I know him better than that, and as easy it would be to vilify him right now, I can't lie to myself. "Maybe you really did believe it at the time," I admit. "That you loved me back."
"Or maybe you really did love me. Just not enough, you know?" I don't bother fighting the tears. He's seen them plenty of times now anyway, and if there's ever been a time to let them flow, it's now.
And Tuck stops his attempts to explain. He blinks at me, stunned silent, and I suspect he's finally grasping the weight of his own words. And I realize that even though he’s the one who said them, it’s only now that he’s really understanding their implications. The truth is obvious and cruel, and with it I can stop wondering. I can stop analyzing his words and guessing at their meaning. Because now I know.
Eventually Tucker sighs, raking his fingers through his hair as he searches for words to placate me. But I don't want his guilt, and I definitely don't want his pity.
I avert my gaze and it lands on his overnight bag, three feet to my right. I force in a deep breath and shove my hand inside it, pulling out the first piece of clothing I can grab, grateful to discover it's a t-shirt—fitted for him, but oversized for me. I hastily slip it on.
I look back at him, feeling utterly defeated. "You let me go."
We both know now what that says about his love, but this isn’t about blame—this is about acceptance. It’s about moving forward. "So let me go," I beg him, and then hurry out the door.
Once, the only thing that mattered to me was football—training, playing, and earning my place on the best team at every level. I had it all, and I threw it away with a semester of drugs, alcohol, and pissing off anyone who tried to stop me. Now I’m suspended from the team, on house arrest, and forced to spend six months at home to get my shit together. The cherry on top of my fuckup sundae? Sleeping in the room next to mine is my best friend’s girl, Mia Mendez—the only woman I’ve ever loved and a reminder of everything I regret.
I’m not sure if having Mia so close will be heaven or hell. She’s off-limits—and not just because she’s working for my dad. Her heart belongs to someone else. But since the accident that killed her brother and changed everything, she walks around like a zombie, shutting out her friends and ignoring her dreams. We’re both broken, numb, and stuck in limbo.
Until I break my own rules and touch her.
Until she saves me from my nightmares by climbing into my bed.
Until the only thing I want more than having Mia for myself is to protect her from the truth.
I can’t rewrite the past, but I refuse to leave her heart in the hands of fate. For this girl, I’d climb into the sky and rearrange the stars.
Amazon US: http://amzn.to/1QES7GT
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I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
“You lift me up when there’s no reason I should be able to stand.”
When I first read the synopsis for this story, I was intrigued. Then I began reading…and I was like okay broken girl and boy who yearns for her. I was so wrong. This book goes so much deeper. It’s heartbreaking, inspiring, and will overwhelm you in the best way possible. This book? It was an emotional one I never even saw coming.
“I’ve been numb for months, but it’s no surprise that Mia’s the first to make me feel something.”
Mia Mendez is left a shadow of her former self after a tragic accident that will forever haunt her. Her life is in shambles. She’s stuck in the past while living in the present. She’s numb. Not living. Barely existing. Her story is painful. But as a reader, you feel everything for her. Her new job is a challenge. She must face Arrow. The man that her heart never admitted she loved and never recovered from.
“How many times has she come to me and saved me from the nightmares?”
Arrow is a reminder to Mia of her past. And everything she once loved. And still loves. He reminds her of the guilt she carries. Of all the decisions she has made. He reminds her of why she can never belong to him as her heart belongs to someone else. There is a twist to this that is heartbreaking. Is it possible to love when you promised yourself to someone else? Mia is not the only one forever changed by the accident. Arrow is different as well. But one thing has never changed…his heart for Mia. If anything his love for her is stronger.
“You didn’t die that night.”
“No. Death would have been easier.”
This story goes deep. There is raw, palpable emotion felt that I never expected. My heart broke and it soared. Arrow and Mia’s love is undeniable. Their attraction off the charts. This story attests to the truth in love overcoming time and circumstance. This romance will put you on edge as you are thrown into the lives of two broken people that love with a love so deep that neither one believe they deserve.
“What are you doing?”
The story is brilliantly and effortlessly written as it transitions between the past and the present. This allows the reader to be truly embedded within the story. The transitions are seamless as we learn the past and the circumstances that led up to the present. The author is talented in her ability to put her readers within the hearts of her characters. You feel EVERYTHING. The feels are unreal.
“I don’t even know if I deserve to look at you, but some days it feels like you’re the only piece of beauty left in the world.”
Spinning Out is a suspenseful and angsty read. It’s also beautiful, romantic, and highly emotional. The beginning was a bit slow, but as you get deeper into the story you realize this is so much more than the usual broken girl and boy. The pain felt is unimaginable. The author is a master at capturing the height of emotions and romance and that is what makes this story stand out. This is not an easy story, but so worth the read.
“And you’re alive.”
“Only when you touch me.”
I wake to a thump and sit up in bed. It’s three in the morning and my room is dark, but there’s more thumping. Someone’s kicking the wall between my room and Arrow’s.
My heart clenches as I picture him on the other side having wild sex with some girl. Maybe some old fuck buddy came over after I went to bed. Hell, for all I know it’s Gwen visiting her stepson’s bed.
I dismiss the idea as quickly as it comes. Arrow can’t tolerate Gwen, and he may have changed, but he’s never been one to fuck girls he can’t tolerate.
There’s another thump, then I hear Arrow’s voice. “No. Don’t.” Rough, choked words. And more thrashing. “Why?”
I throw off the covers and run to his room, opening the door without a thought.
I don’t know what I expected to find. Arrow is sleeping alone, tangled in his covers.
Frozen, I stare at him. Moonlight spills in through the open curtains and casts shadows across his face. Sweat glistens on his forehead, and his face twists in a grimace.
I step closer. I could touch him, but I shouldn’t. “Arrow?”
He kicks. His arm flies out and hits the wall.
“Arrow,” I repeat, louder this time.
He grabs my hand at the wrist and flies upright in bed as his eyes pop open. He’s breathing hard, and anguish is all over his face. For a minute, I feel like I can see inside him—all the terrified, vulnerable parts he hides from the world. I can see inside him and I know exactly what I’m looking at, because my dreams make me feel the same way.
“What are you doing here?” he asks in a low whisper. The anger from earlier is gone from his voice.
“You were having a nightmare.”
His eyes rake over me—greedy, hungry, desperate. “What? No red lace nightie? Or do you save that for my dad? Like mother, like daughter?”
I gasp before I can stop myself. Why doesn’t he just punch me? His fist to my face would hurt less than those words.
I yank my hand away, spin on my heel, and walk toward the hall. As I reach for the knob, he’s behind me. He slams his palm against the door, and it closes with a violent thunk. “I’m sorry,” he whispers behind me, his breath on my neck. “I’m sorry I said that.”
I keep my gaze on his hand. Arrow has the best hands. Big, strong, beautiful. And the first time they touched me . . .
I squeeze my eyes shut at the unwelcome memory, and shrug. “I need this job,” I say slowly. “Your stepmother has made it clear that she’ll fire me if we can’t get along, and we both know your dad will fire me if you ask him to. But please don’t. Please don’t screw it up for me.”
“Mia,” he says softly, and I feel him step closer, the heat of his body against my back. The rough pads of his fingertips brush the hair from my neck, then his breath, hot and sweet, tickles against that tender skin.
I’m frozen, divided between the wish for his kiss and the fear of it. “I’m sorry,” I whisper. Hot tears roll down my cheeks, and I don’t know what I’m apologizing for. For taking this job? For going with Brogan that night when Arrow asked me not to? For entering his life to begin with?
Yes. All of that. More. “I’m so sorry.”
He drops one hand from the door and the other from my neck. My body grows cool as he steps away.
“Stop apologizing,” he says.
I turn the knob and head to my room. I don’t look back.
New York Times and USA Today bestselling romance author Lexi Ryan’s novels have been described as intense, emotional, and wickedly sexy. A former college professor, she now writes full-time from her home in Indiana, where she lives with her husband, two children, and a neurotic dog. Find her on Facebook or Twitter to chat about books, TV, and her children’s latest antics.
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