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I’m Ash Evans.
The life of the party.
Hot. Rich. Charismatic.
A tattooed rock star with the world at my feet.
I burn through women faster than the strike of a match.
I’ve embraced my lifestyle and live it to the fullest.
Until the day my lifestyle caught up to me.
Willow Langston found me at my lowest.
Facedown in a puddle of my own blood.
I owe her my life and I have three months to repay that debt.
What I never should have done was touch her. Kiss her. Take her to my bed.
Love wasn’t supposed to be a part of the equation.
I gave up that nasty complication a long damned time ago.
Now I want her more than my next breath.
But she doesn’t know what I know.
Do I leave to protect her? Or can I face my demons and ask her to Stay?
Stay…it may appear to be a simple four letter word, but the depth of its meaning and the difficulties associated with it are anything but superficial; in fact, for people like Ash Evans who have no interest in laying down roots…in bonding himself to any woman permanently, the concept of remaining in one place, with one woman and giving up his free and easy rocker lifestyle is not something he will willingly commit to because the risks are too high, and he refuses to be responsible for another person’s destruction.
Unlike Ash, Willow Langston longs for permanency; she dreams of sharing her life with someone who will love her unconditionally and vow to stay by her side, regardless of the difficulties they face. But those dreams have turned dark and depressing because one by one those she cared about the most have left her in devastating ways, forcing her to face a much different reality than the one her mama always told her to reach for and make happen.
In a twist of fate, these two tortured souls…these two individuals who couldn’t want anything more opposite when it comes to their lives cross paths and while Willow may have been the one to first save Ash in his time of need, the connection that forms between them has both of them yearning to pretend, at least for a little while, that they can be what one another needs and not worry about fracturing even further when their pretending turns out to be anything but.
The conflicted dynamics that exist between Ash and Willow speak to the harrowing pasts they continue to be tormented with, and regardless of how much their bodies and perhaps even their hearts yearn to be filled by each other’s tenderness and devotion, their greatest fears continue to stand in the way of creating something real and permanent.
Every story in A.L. Jackson’s Bleeding Stars series is a complicated mix of passion and pain…love and hate…ecstasy and devastation, and these contradictory ideas create a maelstrom of emotions for both the characters in the story and the readers who can’t help but be consumed by the highs and lows each couple faces as their stories are told.
Ash and Willow couldn’t be more opposite in both their lifestyles as well as where they want their futures to lead them, but it’s clear from their first interaction that the fun, easy-going rocker and the innocent forever kind of girl share a connection that can’t be ignored regardless of the risks…regardless of the shattered pieces of their hearts and their souls that can only be shredded further due to Ash’s secrets and his self-condemnation.
A.L. Jackson weaves an emotionally layered story…one that will tie readers in knots and make them anxious to understand why Ash hides behind his free-loving, living in the moment persona, and as he traverses past the line that he has toed for a significant number of years, it remains unclear if he’ll finally unburden himself of the guilt and grief that has kept him company for as long as he can remember.
Stay is everything I wanted from Ash’s story; he’s always been the uncomplicated member of Sunder, never wanting attachments and embracing the rocker lifestyle as a form of protection for his heart, but it’s also been easy to recognize that there are reasons for how he chooses to live, which slowly come to the surface in Stay, and as Willow breaks down Ash’s walls, it’s clear to readers, Willow, and Ash himself that regardless of his commitment to living an easy life, he and Willow were brought together to save one another in every sense of the word.
Chasing one’s dreams isn’t meant to be easy but achieving them, especially when the path is thwart with chaos and devastation, makes it worth everything it takes to get there, especially when it comes to lasting love.
4.5 Poison Apples
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times & USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance. She writes emotional, sexy, heart-filled stories about boys who usually like to be a little bit bad.
Her bestselling series include THE REGRET SERIES, CLOSER TO YOU, as well as the newest BLEEDING STARS novels. Watch for the next installment STAND, coming Spring 2017.
If she’s not writing, you can find her hanging out by the pool with her family, sipping cocktails with her friends, or of course with her nose buried in a book.
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