Welcome to the Mending Hearts Blog Tour! This tour features both Running on Empty, the first book of the series, and Recovery, which is a novella! I also had the pleasure of reviewing Recovery, so read on below to find that as well!
I had the perfect life.
Beautiful and loving husband.
Three gorgeous little girls.
The only thing missing was the white picket fence. I really wanted that fence.
Three years ago, I lost that life. I lost my husband. And I lost myself. But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness. I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world. I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse.
But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle.
There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down. Absolutely no way.
The question is…
How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?
That’s a 50% success rate. Not bad when considering my actions last evening…that and those many years I spent dismissing Blake entirely.
Memories begin to flood my mind as I drive up to the red brick two story house I spent so much time at while growing up.
…Blake and I climbing the huge oak tree in the front of his house to get to the tree fort we built together when we were seven years old.
…Both of us playing hide-and-seek in the garden by the side of his house with me yelling at him for cheating…there’s no way he could count to one hundred that fast.
…The time we made a bike ramp and tried to jump the fence…definitely not one of our best moments. I find myself grinning widely at that memory. Mainly because Blake couldn’t make the jump, ruined his bike, and had to ride his sister’s very pink Barbie bike until he learned his lesson (as his parents put it). I tortured him with that one for years.
Parking my car in the drive, I look at the front door and breathe a heavy sigh. I glance down at my hands as I remove them from the steering wheel – they’re slightly trembling. I shake them in an effort to get rid of the obvious nervous energy and wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans. I run my hair over my ponytail to smooth any fly-aways and exit the car. Looking down while straightening my “Goonies Never Say Die” t-shirt, another memory surfaces.
Blake and I used to make homemade t-shirts all the time together. Mine were always way better than his, of course, but at least he tried. My favorite one of his was this army green, G.I Joe “Knowing is Half the Battle” t-shirt. He wore it all the time. So much so that the iron on letters started falling off and it eventually read “Koin is alf Bat.” God, I would laugh every time he would wear it. I think that’s why he wore it so much.
I look back at my hands. They are still shaking. It seems that even with the comfort of old memories running through my mind, I still can’t shake off my nerves. Making my way to the front door, I mentally chastise my anxiety. “This is ridiculous, Alex. You’re a grown woman. Act like it,” I mutter while walking up the porch steps. I note there’s only a motorcycle parked in the driveway, which bodes well in my favor. This is going to be difficult enough without having a parental audience.
Approaching the door, I raise my fist to knock, pausing for another second to take in a cleansing breath. Breathing out, I say a prayer and knock loudly.
I hear his heavy footsteps coming towards the door, followed by the sound of the deadbolt unlocking. I watch nervously as the handle turns, but when I look up, I’m completely unprepared for what is standing directly in front of my face.
As the door flies open, so does my mouth. Blake is standing in front of me, shirtless, wearing only his red and navy plaid pajama bottoms, bare feet on the floor. His light brown hair is all over the place, but incredibly sexy as it falls messily over his forehead and flips out from behind his ears. One look at this man’s stomach renders me momentarily speechless, and I have to fight to keep myself from running my hands over every single hardened ridge of his abs. So instead, I place my hands over my open mouth and start giggling like a ten year old little girl.
Mid-giggle, I notice the door starting to close. I quickly jump into action. I immediately put my foot in the doorjamb and my hands on the door, using all of my weight to keep him from being able to close it – a trick he taught me by the way.
Shaking his head at me through the opening that I’m desperately trying to maintain, Blake emphatically states, “Nope. Mmm-mm, Alex. It’s too early for this right now. Go home.”
I have the perfect life.
I’ve finally found my happy ending.
I fought through the loss of one husband, lucky enough to be given a second chance at a lifetime of happiness. Settling into our new lives, however, may not be as easy as it seems.
What really happens after the fairytale ending? What happens after the prince rescues the princess? After he sweeps her off her feet and carries her off into the sunset? Do they truly live happily ever after?
This is our story.
Series: Mending Hearts, #1.5
Age: 18 years and up
Review: 4 butterflies
This novella was much, much better than the previous book. With Running On Empty, I felt like Alex didn’t really learn how to be an adult, even with everything she’d been through. But with this story, she did.
Recovery starts pretty soon after ROE leaves off. Alex and Blake are adjusting to the married life. Like any couple, it has its ups and downs. Alex is especially having a hard time adjusting, since she’s so used to doing things independently. However, here she actually matures and learns. She needs to have some people tell her that it’s ok to not have to do everything and to be in control, but she finally gets it.
In the beginning she was pretty much the same as she was in ROE, but throughout the story she learned and matured and I really liked the person she became.
And thank you, Blake, for calling Alex out on her parenting. I saw it in ROE too, but I was more concerned with everything else that was going on to mention it. Blake tells her that it is not okay to let them do nothing around the house. +100 for Blake.
Blake also improved here. He learned to communicate and he learned how to adjust in the household. I really liked how Blake and Alex helped each other grow into the wonderful couple that they are at the end.
I really felt like this book was a huge improvement compared to ROE, and I’m so glad I gave it a chance. Both Alex and Blake acted like adults here and I was able to connect with them and fully understand their actions.
The plot was also very good. I liked that marriage wasn’t portrayed as something that’s all flowers and rainbows, and that you have to work for it. I also loved the ending—it was really, really sweet. I also really enjoyed that though it is a novella—and therefore short—it didn’t feel like it was missing anything and the pace was just right.
I do recommend you read this one, because it’s sweet and portrays marriage realistically and yet still manages to end with a happily ever after. You don’t necessarily have to read ROE, but you’ll be confused in the beginning because most of the characters were already introduced in the previous book.
A free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
About the Author
L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science. She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.
Tour Wide Giveaway
Signed paperbacks of Running on Empty & Recovery