Title: Sweet Fall
Series: Sweet Home #3
Author: Tillie Cole
Release Date: August 26, 2014
From the USA Today Best Selling Sweet Home Series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.
We all have secrets.
Secrets well buried.
Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.
Lexington "Lexi" Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve.
When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year's NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track.
But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman—a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.
Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?
#1 Sweet Home
#2 Sweet Rome
Every once in a while a book comes out of the woodwork and completely blows me away. This, Sweet Fall, is that book. I fell in love with these Alabama football players in the first two books in the series. But with this one, I wasn't prepared for the emotional bitchslap it gave me. This book just makes you feel. I had goosebumps, chest pains and my heart broke numerous times while reading this one.
The star wide receiver and the goth cheerleader, Austin and Lexi are two damaged souls. At the same time they're two halves of the same whole. Broken, bruised, hurt. They just fit even though they shouldn't. Austin is the product of a single Italian mother and grew up in a trailer park. He's not proud of his past or what he's had to do to help his sick mom. Lexi is from a completely different world, privileged & rich, but even she can't outrun her demons.
FEELINGS! My God! This book just gave me the feels. It's so poignant and beautifully executed.
The fact that Tillie Cole relates to her character on such a personal level is what really drives this book home. When you pick this one up please be sure to read the foreword that she's included in the beginning of this book. I highly commend her for writing such a deeply personal subject, I don't think this book would have had the same effect had she not struggled with this herself.
This is an absolutely gorgeous read, and yes, it's a bit of an ugly cry one.
Sweet Fall is the third book in this series but can standalone. I do recommend reading the others first though since Lexi and Austin's relationship parallels the same time frame as Rome and Molly's.
~ Review by Erin
This is by far one of the best books of 2014 hands down!! Tillie Cole what an AMAZING story you have provided us with. It is so real that I felt I was there experiencing it with Austin & Lexi. I will try not to give too much because I want you to enjoy this Emotionally Heartwarming Beautiful Story that will stay with you for a long time to come.
Oh my dear Austin, he was handed a tough life yet he tried to make the best of it at such a young age. He was never alone because not only did he have his mother's love and support but also that of his best friend Rome. Austin is really trying to change the course of his life by bettering it for himself and his family, even though it will not be an easy road to go down because of family pressure, as well as those that want to see him fail because of his past. Being Italian meant that family came first and everyone else later. There are a couple of times that we see him make choices, that show you how important family is to him and that he would do whatever it takes to take care of them. I loved seeing the changes Austin made progressively throughout the story, changes that show you that he really is thinking about the future with Lexi. Along with that we see how he starts making the right decisions that will not only benefit him but Lexi as well.
Lexi has not had an easy life as she is battling with something that can take her life but is determined to be that "Perfect Person" no matter what it takes!! She does not like to be the center of attention because she is afraid that someone will see through her and stop her from achieving perfection. Even though at first, her run in with Austin was anything but romantic, we get to see how her sweet, kind, loving personality wins him over and we see their beautiful friendship flourish. She didn't mean to fall for Austin but when the heart wants what it wants, it's hard to steer it the other way.
I loved how Austin & Lexi's friendship turns into something more and I will say, it becomes so powerfully strong that no magnetic field could separate it. There is plenty of action, drama, love, passion, loyalty and redemption that has you rooting for Austin & Lexi. I hated when it ended because I'm greedy and I just wanted to continue to read more about Austin & Lexi's future.
Reading Lexi's side of the story helped me see that words can either help or hurt and they stay with us a long time, so we have to choose our words carefully . I cannot recommend this book enough!! When you get started make sure nothing gets in your way as you will not want to put this book down. You will have to know what happens next. This story will stay with you for a long time to come and I know without a doubt that I will be re-reading it many times to come. Bravo Tillie Cole for such a Real Story that many of us have lived or know of someone that has lived it and survived. Cannot wait for what else you have in store for us.
~ Review by Kara
I'm not usually the type of person that likes to read an ugly cry book, but I loved this series so much there was no way I was going to skip it.
We don't get to hear too much about Austin and Lexi in the first 2 books so I didn't really know what to expect. Tillie, you totally threw me for a loop. You fall in love with these two as well as Levi and Austin's mother very early. That right there told me I was in for an ugly cry.
The story line is very real. It's one of those books that you read slowly, put down to take breaks to absorb but can't stay gone for long. You will laugh and you will cry.... a lot. Your heart breaks for each one of these characters, for everything they have to endure.
I won't give away any spoilers, except one. I am the type of reader that HAS to have a HEA. It would absolutely crush me to invest time and emotion into characters and not have them get their happily ever after. When, or if, I read one like that I might be done as a reader. Let me put your mind at ease, there is a HEA. It was a long and tough road to get there, so if you are reading it and feel like you can't go on (speaking from personal experience), keep going..... just keep going.
I also want to thank Tillie Cole for putting this book and her personal experiences out there for all of us. She is an amazing author and this could not have been easy for her.... I can't think of any way to put it other than just saying thank you. You are an inspiration and I feel that putting yourself out there like this will help others in the same situation.
I give this book 5 emotionally gut wrenching yet Sweet and amazing stars. Congrats on an amazing series and I will be first in line for the next one.
~ Review by Stacey
It took me less than two minutes to see movement from behind the Denny Chimes, the large tower in the quad, protected by the shade of trees. A tweaking-looking kid scurried past me, stuffing a small white packet into his cargo shorts. I kept my head down so he wouldn’t recognize me, but I saw what he’d just bought.
Coke on campus… Fuck! Coach had been right.
“Austin, there you are, man. I was thinking you weren’t gonna show.”
I flew forward, ready to tear my eldest brother a new asshole, when I caught someone walking out from the shadows.
My heart skipped a motherfucking beat.
No… no… no… no, no, no, no, no, no!
“Hey, Austin!” Levi said, waving, and my stomach rolled to the point I felt sick. My baby brother came strutting forward, jeans and T-shirt too big for his teenage body and all the pockets weighed down with perfectly measured packets of snow. He was fairer than me and Axel, who, quite frankly, could pass for my twin. Levi was our baby brother… the damned innocent one. The one who still had a chance stay clear of the wrong side of the law.
I knew he was working with the crew, of course. We all did as kids, but it was doing things like being a lookout back at the trailer park or counting out cash and collecting packages, but no fucker had mentioned he’d started dealing.
I flicked my chin in greeting and, pulling him to my chest, met Axel’s eyes over his shoulder. Axel’s face dropped and he turned away. He knew I was pissed, but, knowing Axel, he didn’t give a shit.
“Done good tonight, bro. Nearly got enough for Mamma’s next treatment,” Levi said, pride lacing his voice as he pulled back to look at me.
Closing my eyes, I took a long, deep breath.
“Austin?” Levi questioned, and I felt his eyes focused on me. “You good?”
Opening my eyes, I pulled him close by gripping his two-sizes-too-big shirt. “When did you start dealing with the crew?” I hissed out, and Levi took a huge fuckin’ gulp, the blood draining from his face.
Levi’s gray eyes darted back to Axel, who was walking toward another group of guys heading in our direction. Great. More frat boys looking for a fix, a fix from my fuckin’ doppelganger… at my school!
Yanking Levi back, I placed us behind the protection of a tree, way outta sight. I couldn’t be seen dealing or even be associated with dealers, or my scholarship would be revoked on the spot. The dean was already suspicious. Hell, he never even wanted me in his school. It was Coach’s persistence and Rome Prince’s demands that had him caving in. He’d never wanted the boy with the rap sheet from the trailer park on the wrong side of the tracks.
This shit would play right into his hands.
Checking that we were hidden, I shook Levi, who was busy staring at the ground, by the collar. “Levi! When the hell did you get recruited to deal coke?” I hissed.
“‘Bout a month ago,” he admitted reluctantly.
“A month,” I stated in disbelief.
A goddamn fuckin’ month.
He nodded, and I gripped his head in my hands. “Fuck, Levi. Why? I told you never to go down that road. Do easy shit for the crew, that’s fine. But not this! You’re a born wide receiver like me, but you gotta get your grades, focus on school to get in here at UA. The crew, Lev, the motherfuckin’ crew! Gio won’t ever let you leave. Ain’t no way we’re both getting out!”
Levi pulled back and rested his back against the tree, arms folded over his chest in defiance, a scowl firmly on his face. “Mamma’s getting worse, Aust. Medicare ain’t cutting it no more. We wanna keep her pain free, we need to pay for it. She needs a frame all the time now too. She hasn’t left the trailer in weeks. Can’t walk without shaking and falling to a heap on the floor.”
Levi’s eyes filled with tears, and my throat clogged up tight at the sight. The kid was fourteen. four-fuckin’-teen. He shouldn’t be concerning himself with paying for medical bills, selling drugs, or taking care of Mamma.
“And why the fuck has this been hidden from me?” I asked through gritted teeth, my jaw aching from the pressure.
Levi dropped his head. “Mamma never wanted you to know. Said you had enough to worry about. And I knew you wouldn’t approve of me being in with the Heighters.”
And hell if that didn’t make me feel like shit.
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.