A.L. Jackson will be releasing A Stone in the Sea, the first book in her Bleeding Hearts series on February 23. Pre-order is available exclusively through iBooks.
We are so excited to be part of this exclusive cover reveal preview. Every day this week one blog will be revealing a piece of the puzzle, with the final cover reveal happening on Friday. Today we are revealing the 2nd piece of the puzzle along with an excerpt from Chapter 1 and TWO great giveaways. Look out for more puzzle pieces at the following amazing blogs!
Jan 12: Vilma’s Book Blog
Jan 13: Give Me Books
Jan 14: Shh Mom’s ReadingJan 15: Nose Stuck in A Book
If you are looking forward to this release as much as we are, join us in the One-Click Addict Support Group for a group read during release week. A.L Jackson will then be joining us on the evening of March 2 to discuss all things 'A Stone in the Sea'.
Title: A Stone in the Sea
Series: Bleeding Hearts #1
Author: A.L. JacksonRelease Date: February 23, 2015
He wanted nothing at all…
Until he found she had everything to give…
Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything—fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.
Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.
When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she's helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense gray eyes tangle with hers.
They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.
Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.
I drew in a thick, soggy breath, and my boots sank into the damp sand as I met the shoreline. Humidity clung to the dark, endless sky, a dense mist hugging the surface of the ocean that seethed in the night, a toiling mess of beauty and contradiction. I lifted my face to the stars that stretched on forever, an eternal canopy that seemed too low yet impossible to touch.
Sometimes I wished I could reach through it to find all that had been lost.
Lights shined from the huge house on the hill behind me, life stretching its fingers out into the shadows, seeking a way to connect with my spirit, just as the tide raced in as if to embrace me. To wrap me in its arms and pull me under.
It didn’t matter what sea I brushed up against.
He was always there.
Waiting for me.
I raised my arms out to my sides and welcomed him because I never wanted to let him go. Didn’t ever want to forget. Wind pounded at my face, the taste of salt and sea filling my senses, and I remembered exactly why I was here.
What I was willing to protect, no matter the cost.
Savannah. Fucking. Georgia.
How the hell did I end up here?
I propped my hand up against the molding encasing the floor to ceiling windows overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. In the daylight, it appeared peaceful and serene, a gentle rush of the tide as it staked its claim up the bank, then slowly rolled back out to sea.
“You okay?” Anthony asked from behind me.
All the rest of the guys were still asleep, but I finally gave up on trying to catch a even a wink when the sun came up.
I jerked my attention to where Anthony leaned up against the massive island in the center of the opulent kitchen. My brow got all twisted up in an incredulous scowl, all of it directed at him. Anthony Di Pietro.
Sunder’s agent and one of the few people in this world who I actually liked.
Even though I couldn’t look at him right now without feeling all pissy and annoyed. This was the guy I trusted with the three things in this world that were important to me—my band, the guys in it, and my baby brother.
“No, I’m not okay. There’s not one fucking thing okay with this, Anthony. Can they even do this?”
His shoulders lifted to his ears, and he puffed out a heavy breath with a slow shake of his head. “They can do whatever they want. They own you, Baz.”
I bit off a bitter laugh. All my life I’d worked to make sure no one owned me. Music setting me free. Then I’d just turned around and sold my soul to the devil.
“You know nothing right now is definitive,” he continued. “It might be another warning, but you and I both know we’re running out of strings to pull. You all made the right choice, coming here.”
Turning around, I raked a hand over my face. “Still can’t get my head around this shit.”
Guilt got all messed up with the aggression I’d dealt with my entire life. The two were enough to strangle me. Yet another fucking disaster I’d gotten myself into. Only this time it affected everyone. But what was I supposed to do? Let that pompous asshole get away with what he’d done?
My chin took on a defiant set when I looked at Anthony. “I won’t apologize for what I did.”
He was a good guy, mid-forties, three kids he adored, a wife he adored more. Not many people had that kind of integrity in this industry.
Hell, not many people had that kind of integrity at all.
“I’m not asking you to. You think I don’t know why you did it?” he asked, his voice coated with empathy, and I knew in my gut the guy completely understood. He tipped his head to the side and narrowed his eyes to prove a point. “But do you really want to broadcast that to the rest of the world?”
I attempted to swallow around the lump wedged at the base of my throat. “No.”
He pushed off the island and began to pace, his dress shoes echoing on the marble floor. “You know I’ll do everything in my power to put enough pressure on this guy to drop the charges, but in the meantime, you guys need to take advantage of the quiet. Write some music…do some recording. That’s why you’re here. You don’t have to think of it as for any other reason.”
Looking to the high ceiling, I rubbed under my jaw, trying to keep my shit together. Right. Like this was just some kind of awesome retreat. Like we weren’t here hiding away at Anthony’s seaside mansion when we were supposed to be on our way to France for the start of our European tour.
That’s what we’d tweeted to the world to announce the cancellation.
And our fans were pissed.
No, we weren’t the biggest band in the world. Our style was too dark and gritty and loud for the mainstream airways, but we had a huge-ass following, our shows selling out city after city, our songs downloaded at a rate that blew my mind.
We played and people listened.
But now even that was being threatened.
When I got slapped with assault charges and they yanked the tour sponsorship, Anthony had convinced us to come here. The bottom floor had a state of the art recording studio, plus Anthony figured the place was so secluded and we were so far away from L.A., there was little chance of anyone recognizing us.
The rest of the guys knew why we were here.
The last thing he needed was another cross to bear.
Anthony pulled on his suit jacket, straightened his tie. “All of you just need to lie low for the next few weeks. Fitzgerald doesn’t want you anywhere in the public eye. Not until Mylton Records decides if they’re going to pull the label or not.”
“Thought they ate up the punked out drama.” It was all a sneer.
It was good for image. That’s what that greedy bastard Fitzgerald had said when he signed us, practically salivating at the mouth when he found out I had a record about ten miles long, and not the music kind.
Anthony curled up his own sarcastic grin. “Oh, you know how the saying goes, Baz…it’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. You start beating on industry execs and the industry is going to take note.”
Yeah, and I’d do it again. Without hesitation. I’d always protect my own just like I always had. Scum like Jennings didn’t deserve their next breath.
“You know this band has taken on a lot of heat, Baz. First your father, then Mark, and now this.”
I tried not to flinch with the impact of Mark’s name, but it was there, like a bolt of fiery lightning. I ground my teeth against the pain. Couldn’t even begin to go there. Not yet.
It was too raw.
Too fucking raw.
After Julian, I knew that kind of wound didn’t heal.
On an exhale, Anthony set an almost pleading expression on his face, like he knew whatever he was getting ready to say was going to be met with resistance. “Just do what I ask for once, Baz. Stay here and pretend like this is exactly where you want to be.”
This was the last place I wanted to be.
My voice was hard. “I’ve never run from the shit I have to face.”
“I beg to differ, my friend. You just run the opposite direction…head first into it with fists flying. You need to take a step back and rein yourself in. I mean, God, Baz, you beat an executive producer to within in an inch of his life.” He took a step forward and set his hand on my shoulder. “I know you, and I know all of this is killing you. But you’ve always stood up for everyone else in your life. It’s time you stood up for yourself and took some time to deal with what’s going on inside of you. Because if you don’t? You’re going to end up losing everything that’s important to you and there won’t be a damned thing in this world I can do to stop it.”
My guts got all tied up in a hundred knots and nausea coiled in my stomach.
He squeezed my shoulder and tossed me a wry smile, doing his best to lighten the mood. “Come on, think of this as a vacation. Just keep your dick in your pants and your fists out of asshole’s faces, and everything will turn out fine. I’m heading back to L.A. and I promise you I’ll take care of this shit with Jennings, but I can’t do it if you’re stirring up more trouble.”
I almost snorted.
That shit followed me wherever I went. Didn’t matter if I was here or in L.A.
Anthony’s phone buzzed, and he swiped his finger over it and read the message. “My car’s here.” He tucked it in his jacket pocket. “I’ve got to get to the airport. I’ll keep you posted on everything.”
He grabbed his briefcase, adjusted it on his suitcase, and pulled it behind him through the large, open living area toward the double doors leading out front. He paused in the foyer and looked back at me.
“If you can’t do this for yourself, then do it for the band. But know they love you, Baz. Don’t doubt they understand why you did what you did even better than I do. None of them want to see a repeat of Mark. I’m not sure any one of you would survive it. And if Austin’s your family, then he’s their family too.”
Feeling like he just drop-kicked me in the stomach, I stood there in silence and watched Anthony walk out the door, the thought of losing Austin enough to weaken my knees. That kid was my life. My responsibility.
Sucking in a breath, I forced myself to move, turned around and plodded up the large curved staircase so I could hit the shower. I froze when I rounded the top and found Austin huddled on the top step, fists gripping handfuls of light brown hair as he rocked with his head buried between his knees.
“Austin.” I grabbed the railing to help myself kneel down in front of him. He’d just turned eighteen, was all legs and lanky body, had the same grayish-green eyes as mine, and his hair was shaggy and just as messy as the warped emotions that skewed all of his thoughts. He was good, through and through, but held a heart so full of self-hatred he could see none of it.
He took the blame that was mine and I’d spend the rest of my life erasing it from him.
“Austin,” I called again, quieter this time, tugging at one of his hands that ripped at his hair. “Stop.”
He shook his head almost violently. “It’s my fault.”
I grabbed him by the outside of his head, forcing him to look at me. “No. It’s not. It’s not.” I dropped my forehead to his, pleading with him to for once believe it, my voice rough and shallow. “Not your fault.”
A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of Take This Regret and Lost to You, as well as other contemporary romance titles, including Come to Me Quietly, Come to Me Softly, Pulled, When We Collide, and If Forever Comes.
She 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. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children. Her favorite pastime is spending time with the ones she loves.