Monday, April 23, 2012

VBT: "Pulled" by A.L. Jackson Book Review and Giveaway (Ends 5/15) WW

by A.L. Jackson
Published by Sapphire Star Publishing
Contemporary Romance

Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love they believed bonded them together for life. After the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in unanswered questions. 

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds their heart.

Now, when their lives again intersect, will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past? 

Pulled is a story of attraction and separation, of destiny and duty, of a love so strong it refuses to give up even when all others have. 

Available at:

I glanced at the clock.

****—nearly six o’clock. I needed to hurry. I’d lost track of time and Nicholas would be home soon. I wiped the tears from my face before carefully gathering the pictures from the bedroom floor. My chest weighed heavy as I collected each one, cherishing the memories a moment longer as I tucked them away in the envelope.

The memories were all I had and I clung to them as if they were my last breath, knowing that once they faded, there would truly be no reason to go on. I hid the envelope at the bottom of the large jewelry box in the back of the closet, mindful to spread the necklaces out over the hidden compartment. Nicholas had never found them, but I was certain he would destroy them if he ever did.

Drawing in a deep breath, I ran my hands through my hair and dragged myself from the past I had immersed myself in for the last two hours and forced myself downstairs.

My footsteps echoed against the marble floor, each an accent of emptiness. I entered the kitchen, the only sanctuary I had. Every room of this house was gaudy and overdone, designed by the pompous for the pompous, except for this haven. It was no less extravagant, but held a warmth missing from all of the others.

As I worked, my thoughts inevitably wandered back to those beloved pictures hidden away in the back of my closet, but even they weren’t enough to ward off the anxiety steadily building within me as the passing minutes warned of Nicholas’s arrival. At six thirty-one, I heard the garage door open. Bile rose in my throat.

“Melanie?” Nicholas called from the entryway.

“In the kitchen,” I called weakly. Maybe he would go upstairs and spare me a few more minutes, but of course, I never had that kind of luck. I heard his footsteps approaching and prepared myself.

“Dinner ready?” He yanked at his tie as he came through the door.

“Um, not quite, just a couple more minutes,” I said, not meeting his face.

I felt him pause, though I refused to look up. I’d learned a long time ago how to survive in hell. The less I interacted with him the better.

He snorted through his nose, muttering, “Worthless whore,” under his breath.

I gritted my teeth, holding in the anger his accusation triggered.

He set his briefcase on the island next to me and tossed his tie over the top of it. “What time do I get home from work, Melanie?” Nicholas dipped his head, forcing me to look at him.


“Is it too much to ask that dinner is ready when I get home?” he said, “or do you have something better to do with your useless life?”

I cringed but said nothing. He was the one who didn’t want me to work.

“I didn’t think so.” He leaned in closer, his words a low warning. “When I tell you dinner needs to be ready at six-thirty, it means dinner is to be ready at six-thirty. Do you understand?”

I saw the threat in his eyes. He had never hurt me physically, but he made sure I knew who was in charge. I’d given up any control nine years ago when I’d followed him here to Chicago, looking for an escape from the pain.

I knew then what this life would be like. I’d met him at the airport when I’d fled Colorado that final time, the trip that severed the last thread holding my heart together. Nicholas hadn’t seen the broken girl who sat numb with nothing but pain swimming in her eyes. He saw the young, beautiful girl, the one who said nothing at all but seemed to be willing to do whatever he said.

I wasn’t stupid. I had known exactly what he wanted, but I could never go back to Colorado Springs to face what I could no longer have, and I refused to stay with my mother in Dallas.

So I left all of it behind, moving with Nicholas to Chicago just days after I returned from Colorado.

I knew then Nicholas would never bring me happiness. That had never been the point. My heart belonged to another and would never be his. All I wanted was a way out, while Nicholas got the trophy wife he thought he deserved. The only thing I hadn’t anticipated was how the numbness I felt for him would evolve over nine years into bitterness and loathing.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars
What an amazing novel!  I have been finding some great romance books lately, and this is indeed one of them.  I was completely drawn into the story between Daniel and Melanie.  This story has all the elements that make a love story great.  Suspense, fear, anger, hopelessness, and ultimate joy.

Portions of this story resonated with my own life story.  I fully understand how it feels to be married to a control freak--I was for nearly 10 years.  And the author hit the nail on the head in her description of Melanie's facetious marriage.  I recalled the pain, hopelessness, and feelings of entrapment.  But unlike Melanie, I did not continue.  I rejoiced when Melanie finally faced her fears.  I know how hard it was me to stop believing the lies I heard day in and day out.  And Melanie's self-worth was tied to Daniel.  Feeling of not being wanted can be paralyzing.

The suspense in the story truly kept me on the edge of my seat through most of the book.  I enjoyed the flashback techn.ique, and the author was a master at using this technique to further the story and heighten the emotional level.  I also appreciated how the author told the story from two different perspectives.  Rarely have I seen this technique handled in a book so masterfully.

So why the four star rating?  First of all, while the profanity did not ruin the story for me, I could have done without it.  I was grateful that the bedroom scenes were not overly graphic.  But I was surprised at how it appeared that there was nothing wrong with the teenagers having sex outside of marriage, having other partners ater, and then having an affair when they found each other again.  I loved the romance and love between them, but I would have liked to have seen some discretion and waiting involved in the situation which might show that they had learned something from the mistakes they made as teens.  Morals would have been nice to have introduced and emphasized.

One other issue I had was that of realism.  It would seem that the author wanted to write at least a somewhat realistic story with some ramance to it.  I believe the author suceeded until about two thirds into it.  I said to myself, "I hope this is not going to turn out to be a sappy story."  Well, it kind of is--not as bad as I feared but still somewhat sappy.  Some bad stuff did happen, but too much seemed to work out too well. Thus, the story became quite predictable.

However, I would definitely recommend this book to romance readers of most walks of life.  The writing style is exquisite, and the story will capture your heart.

This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.  I was not financially compensated in any way, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

View all my reviews

A.L. Jackson 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, Pulled.

A.L. resides in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three beautiful children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.

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One international reader will win a PDF copy of Pulled (and I guarantee that the winner will not be sorry!).  All you need to do is enter on the rafflecopter form below by 9 P.M. Pacific Time May 15.  

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1 comment:

  1. This cover is beautiful I would love the chance to read Pulled!


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