BOOK REVIEW: Running in Place by L.B. Simmons

runninginplace_322x500Tatum O’Connell:

Some call me a party girl. People see me as happy, full of life, with absolutely no cares in the world. They see what I want them to see. But no one knows me – really knows me. Not even Noah Reese.  Mr. Perfect is always watching me, most likely judging every single imperfect thing I do. But, if Noah wants to keep an eye on me, that’s just fine. I definitely don’t mind. I just hope he doesn’t have any plans to save me from my new-found life of self-destruction because in order to save me, he will have to see me…

And I’m never going to let that happen.

Noah Reese:

Perfect. That’s me. That’s the only acceptable way to be, according to my father. Perfect grades. Perfect manners. Perfect athlete. Perfect SAT scores. Perfect college. And recently, I was accepted into the perfect med school. My future has already been mapped out for me and there’s nothing that can change that. Not even Tatum O’Connell. That girl is out of control, yet for some reason, I can’t seem to keep my distance from her. I watch her closely, hoping that one day she’ll let me in, but watching her lead her life down the dangerous path she’s on right now isn’t easy…

I have a feeling I’m about to find myself swept away by the hurricane that is Tatum O’Connell.

“Two fleeting souls,
Unknowingly tethered.
Too slowly drawn,
Impatient fate calls.
The jolting collide intertwines their lives
And splinters their walls.”

“Catalyst” – Noah Reese

review

“I would rather have one night with you, than to live the rest of my life with the possibility of never being able to experience loving another person the way that I love you.”

There are authors whose writing is so clearly a direct reflection of the steadily joyous outlook on life that runs through their veins, and after three instalments of this marvellous series, I am convinced that L.B. Simmons’ books are akin to happy pills. This is a story that excited me, elated me, made me hope it would never end, but it also crushed me and made me hide my head under a pillow, unable to take any more of my own heartbreak. This is a bright new direction for the series that promises to keep us on our toes with each new instalment.

Life has been pretty rotten to young Tatum O’Connell, her childhood having been what true nightmares are made of. Growing up with a disturbed mother and having had no one to save her from the horrors of her abuse, have shaped Tatum into a self-sufficient young woman who relies on no one in life, but who is inherently lonely at the best of times. Her latest boyfriend is neglectful and inconsiderate, but she chooses to keep him in her life, preferring his predictable carelessness over the prospect of being alone. She is still a lost little girl who defies the world around her by never committing to anything in her life, secretly hoping that people would stop wanting to “fix” her and aching for someone to finally want her for who she is, flaws and all.

“Broken hopes and expectations can leave very, very broken people. So after a while, you learn not to aim so high because when people fail you, you land hard and there’s only so many times a person can be shattered before they’re beyond repair.”

Noah is everything Tatum is not – collected, focussed, motivated. Or that is the mask he wears every single day of his life for the whole world to see. He has long forgotten what he wants out of life because he’s always had someone telling him what his future would be. A loveless childhood with a tyrant of a father has turned Noah into someone who is constantly pushing himself to meet set expectations, knowing all too well that no level of excellence would ever satisfy his father’s unachievable goals. When Noah meets Tatum, her chaotic and self-destructive existence equally fascinates him as well as frustrates him, seeing her rebellious act for the cry for help that it really is.

“Her eyes betray the sorrow that consumes her. What caused this pain?”

When the repercussions of Tatum’s latest tantrum cause her to have to spend a whole summer working closely alongside Noah, they are forced to get to know each other better and slowly reach past each other’s defences. The more they find out about one another, the more protective they become of each other’s wellbeing, and soon their hearts are hopelessly beating in sync. Loving and wanting each other desperately is easy, it comes naturally to both of them, but acknowledging those feelings openly is the hard part. The invisible thread to their pasts constantly pulls them in opposite directions, testing their resolve and forcing them to acknowledge the prospect of a future that is bound to make them miserable, unless they seize the happiness that life is finally offering them.

“I’m tired of denying myself the only thing in my life that I’ve ever really wanted. And I want you. Every part of you, flaws and all.”

It’s a story of courage, resilience, grabbing life by the horns instead of sitting on the sidelines, and it is a story about finding the kind of love that makes you brave enough to take control of your own destiny. This is a huge departure for this author in every possible way – it’s a fresh new style, fresh new feel to the story, and brand new direction for the series. Ms Simmons has taken numerous risks with the storyline, delving into much deeper characterisation of the key players, adding complex psychological layers to them that have made this story a real treat to sink our teeth into. The secondary characters play a vital role in the overall picture as well, some “old friends” making recurring appearances and aiding Tatum and Noah on their path to freedom from the shackles of their pasts. The general “feel” of the book might be slightly darker and edgier than its prequels, but the overwhelming air of wholesome goodness is ever-present and it’s like watching a favourite romantic movie for the umpteenth time – you just know you’ll be smiling in the end.

I wish some parts of the plotline had been given more airtime, I wish some secondary characters’ actions had made more sense to me, I wish Tatum’s relationship with her brother had given me more comfort in the end, but ultimately none of my wishes take away from the stunning story that this book truly is. It put my poor heart through the wringer, making me care for the characters, invested in their journey from start to finish. Just when I thought no one could come close to Blake and Alex in my heart, Ms Simmons gave us Noah and Tatum…

“I have absolutely no fight left in me when it comes to you. I have no walls, no defense, no safety net, no plan. I just am when I’m with you.”

4halfstars

signature2

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
✤ ✤ ✤
Mending Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
runningonempty
Recovery_322x500
runninginplace_322x500

Running on EmptyMy Review | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Recovery (novella): My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Running in PlaceAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:

COVER REVEAL: Running in Place by L.B. Simmons

I love love love this series!!! I love the feel-good writing style, the heartwarming stories, the loveable characters, but what I love even more is that there is another book coming!!!! The chemistry between Noah and Tatum is off the charts, but if the teasers are any indication of things to come, I have a feeling this book is going to break our hearts. This is the second book in the series (not counting the novella), but it can be read as a stand alone novel. I give you the cover of the book I want in my greedy little hands yesterday, Running in Place

Expected release date: Late October 2013

RunninginPlace BN Kobo

“Seriously, why are you even with him, Tatum? You never seem happy when you are.”

Well, that sure turned her smile upside down.  It also caused her to glare back at me.

“Like you have room to talk, Noah. Why are you with Piper?  You sure as hell never look happy when you’re with her, either.  You usually look irritated, actually.”

Touché.

“Touché.  You’re right,” I shrug as I lean back against my chair, “We kind of have an agreement. So, it is what it is. But, it’s nice to know you’ve been watching.” I give her a quick wink.

She narrows her eyes as she sits back in her seat and crosses her arms over her chest.  “Well, you might want to explain that to her, because I’m pretty sure she thinks otherwise.  Like, she probably has the church booked and wedding magazines all over her apartment.”

It seems that even the mention of marriage also has an adverse effect on my cardiac system. Or maybe it’s just any reference to Piper?

We are getting way off track here, so I scoot my seat underneath the table, getting closer to Tatum and shift toward her, crooking my finger for her to lean in as well. After a slight hesitation, surprisingly she does.  I shield the side of my mouth with the back of my hand and lower my voice to a whisper. “Let’s drop the Piper topic for a second, it’s giving me heartburn, and concentrate on you for a second.” Her hardened mask breaks and she laughs even though I couldn’t be more serious.

“I’m going to give you a loser lesson.  Let’s call it, ‘Loser 101: Introduction to All Things Loser.’” Another small smile breaks across her lips and I’m once again momentarily distracted by her mouth. 

Glancing back up, I look into her eyes and grin.  “Okay, so number one.  His name isn’t really Cash, you know this right? His name is Herman. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but if he’s not man enough to even stand behind the name his mother gave him, well?”

Tatum’s eyes widen and she covers her mouth. “How did you know that?” she whispers back from behind her fingers. She looks like an adorable little girl with her huge blue eyes gaping back at me. It’s captivating.  I burn the image into my brain before letting her in on my secret.

“I’m a bartender.  I’ve seen his I.D.  In fact, I make him show it to me every time he comes into the bar because it makes me laugh.”

She drops her hand, huge smile displayed.  “You’re evil.”

“Yes, yes I am.” I hold up my pointer finger.  “That’s number one.  Number two…” I draw out, “He’s what? Twenty-four? You know what I see every time he hands me that I.D. other than his name and age? His goddamn huge-ass senior ring … from high school. He really needs to learn to let go of what were probably the best years of his life and just move on. So, if they still feel that their high school years are relevant – loser. Lesson number two.”

I count it on my fingers as I lean in even closer and whisper my final lesson in her ear. “The third one is the most important, so listen closely.” I take a discreet whiff of her hair before continuing. “You may not believe this but it’s the truth.  You deserve to be treasured.  You should be with someone who respects you, who makes you a better person, and most of all who makes you happy.  He, however, treats you poorly. I see it every single time I’m around the two of you, and I have to say it takes a lot of restraint on my part not to beat the shit out of him when I see him do it.” I lean away from her and hold up three fingers in front of her shocked-as-shit facial expression.  “So, they don’t respect you and treat you how you should be treated – loser. Lesson three.”

I clear my face of its smartass smirk so she understands that I’m completely serious.  “Never settle for less than you’re worth.  You don’t give yourself enough credit.  Hopefully, one day, you’ll see what everyone else sees.”

She graciously accepts my compliment with a half-smile and after sliding herself back into her chair, she studies me intently.

“Interesting lesson there, Noah.  Thank you for the wise words. But, as I clearly displayed last night, I have issues.  Not everyone would take me back after what I did last night. But he did.  Because, he loves me. We all have our faults, not everyone can be perfect, like you.  I hope you know that’s not meant to be an insult, so please don’t take it that way.  I just mean that some of us are flawed and have to deal with what we’re given.” She breaks from my eyes to watch the waitress pick up the empty plates from our table.  Once they’re cleared, she begins again, still gazing off in the distance.

“Broken hopes and expectations can leave very, very broken people. So, after a while, you learn not to aim so high, because when people fail you, you land hard and there’s only so many times a person can be shattered before they’re beyond repair.”

She brings her eyes back to mine.  “What you’re so quick to label as settling, I simply call survival,” she finishes with a defeated shrug of her shoulders.

After her statement, she casts her glance away from mine to smile at the person passing by.  Although as usual, it’s not genuine. It’s the same one she plasters on her face to appease everyone around her.

What the hell happened to her?

The waitress conveniently drops the check off at our table, providing Tatum the perfect way out of this conversation and therefore any further interrogation.  She stands and pushes the chair out from underneath her with the backs of her knees. “Ready?” she asks, purse already in hand and stepping towards the direction of the register.

Well, I guess that’s all I’m getting from her for now. I know it’s not much, but I’ll take it.

It’s not like I can actually concentrate on asking her any more questions, because there’s one gigantic conclusion I’ve just drawn and it’s currently blocking any other thoughts from entering my mind.

A person who judges someone without really knowing them, without walking in their shoes, or without at least attempting to understand what they’ve gone through or experienced during their lifetime – loser.

Lesson number four.

Tatum O’Connell:

Some call me a party girl. People see me as happy, full of life, with absolutely no cares in the world. They see what I want them to see. But no one knows me – really knows me. Not even Noah Reese.  Mr. Perfect is always watching me, most likely judging every single imperfect thing I do. But, if Noah wants to keep an eye on me, that’s just fine. I definitely don’t mind. I just hope he doesn’t have any plans to save me from my new-found life of self-destruction because in order to save me, he will have to see me…

And I’m never going to let that happen.

Noah Reese:

Perfect. That’s me. That’s the only acceptable way to be, according to my father. Perfect grades. Perfect manners. Perfect athlete. Perfect SAT scores. Perfect college. And recently, I was accepted into the perfect med school. My future has already been mapped out for me and there’s nothing that can change that. Not even Tatum O’Connell. That girl is out of control, yet for some reason, I can’t seem to keep my distance from her. I watch her closely, hoping that one day she’ll let me in, but watching her lead her life down the dangerous path she’s on right now isn’t easy…

I have a feeling I’m about to find myself swept away by the hurricane that is Tatum O’Connell.

“Two fleeting souls,
Unknowingly tethered.
Too slowly drawn,
Impatient fate calls.
The jolting collide intertwines their lives
And splinters their walls.”

“Catalyst” – Noah Reese

✤ ✤ ✤
Mending Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
runningonempty
Recovery_322x500
runninginplace_322x500
✤ ✤ ✤
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To celebrate the cover of her newest novel, Running in Place, L.B. is offering her readers an awesome Giveaway!

Winner 1: $100 Amazon gift card

Winner 2: A set of signed paperbacks of Running on Empty and Recovery

Winner 3: ARC of Running in Place, to be sent to the winner in mid October

a Rafflecopter giveaway

✤ ✤ ✤

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00074]

Other books in the series or related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: Recovery by L.B. Simmons

Recovery_322x500I 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?

Well…

This is our story.

 

review

“I’ve been waiting to call you mine my whole life.”

Have you ever wondered what happens after a happy ending, when everyday life kicks in and two people have to learn to live together? In this delightful conclusion to the beloved Running on Empty, we find our Alex and Blake taking their first steps as a couple. This is a book about the adjustments that people need to make in life in order to make room for their happily ever after.

Even though they have finally found a way to each other and committed to a future together, no time passes before Alex and Blake are faced with their first challenges as a couple. For so long, Alex has fought to be a good mum to her children and to make up for the absence of their dad in their lives. She has invested all her time and energy to make them feel loved, adjusted, cared for, and she has done this by putting her personal life aside and assuming a role of both mother and father to them. She is a woman whose heart was broken but she had to learn to suppress that pain for the sake of her daughters – knowing this as a reader, it is hard not to feel sympathy for her and her struggle to maintain control over that life. She’s had a best friend to help her on occasion and be her support system when her grief overwhelmed her, but she has done it all on her own. Until Blake. Learning to lean on someone and ask for help has always been hard for Alex, and even now, with a man who loves her and wants nothing more than to be her rock in life, she struggles to relinquish control over things that she’s always done a certain way.

“This is how things are in my house, the way they have been for a long time.”

Blake loves Alex wholeheartedly and has loved her for a very long time. Having her now as his wife is the realisation of everything he’s ever dreamed of. But he wants her to accept him as her husband not just in name but as an equal ‘partner in crime’ when it comes to all aspects of their new life together.

“We’re supposed to be partners in this, Alex, but instead, we’re two strangers, living two separate lives, inhabiting the same living space.”

He needs her to rely on him, not just as her husband but also as a new father to her children. He wants to create a new family with Alex and her daughters, while Alex only lets him participate in the raising of her children as long as it does not interfere with her way of parenting them. She remains adamant that she knows best how to be a good parent to them because she’s been doing it by herself for so long, failing to realise that she no longer needs to do everything on her own.

Your girls! Your house! Your baby! What happened to our life, Alex?”

Alex’s inability to ask for help conflicts with Blake’s desperate need for her to feel that she is his, his to love, his to help, his to look after. This is a book about learning to communicate with each other and about learning to let go of the past when the future is shining brightly before you.

A truly heart-warming, profoundly emotional continuation of a beautiful story that allowed us to revisit characters we became deeply invested in in the past. It allowed us to take a peek into their life as a new husband and wife and see them finally become a family. This is a much more mature insight into their relationship – the focus is almost entirely on the bond between them and their marriage, giving us a candid snapshot of what it takes to truly share a life together.

If you’ve loved Running on Empty as much as I have, I have no doubt that you will not want to miss this one!

“… now that I have you, I’m never, ever going to let you go again. You are mine. Without you, I am nothing.”

4halfstars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
✤ ✤ ✤
Mending Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
runningonempty
Recovery_322x500
runninginplace_322x500

Running on Empty: My ReviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Recovery (novella): Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Running in Place: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win an autographed set of Running on Empty and Recovery paperbacks, bookmarks and charms, please enter below. This contest is administered by L.B. Simmons.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Blog TourRecovery_BT Button

For a full list of the Recovery Blog Tour stops, click on the image above.

Other books in the series or related posts:

COVER REVEAL: Recovery by L.B. Simmons

I am SO excited to be sharing with you the cover of a book I’ve been dying to tell everyone about!! If you have read and fallen in love with Running on Empty, like most of us have, you will know these characters already. This is the companion novella to that gorgeous book and it is not meant to be read without first reading Running on Empty as the story will make no sense to you at all otherwise. This is the story of what happens after the “…and they lived happily ever after.” This is the story of learning to live with each other, breaking away from old habits and forging a future together hand in hand. This is the story about what it truly means to become a family. I have no doubt whatsoever in my heart that you will love this story as it not only does its prequel justice, it completes it. I give you the stunning cover of Recovery

Expected release date: 13 June 2013

Recovery

As soon as I turn to lead us towards the lake, I’m suddenly whipped around and my body folds itself into Blake’s as he wraps his arm around my back. Dipping me gently, he brings his face to mine. My eyes once again find his perfect mouth, my lips parting to give him entry. He plunges right through them and when I feel the warmth of his tongue I let out a moan. Holding onto the lapels of his jacket, I pull myself closer to him, raising my body until my chest is flush with his. My tongue enters his mouth on a massive exploring expedition, claiming every single inch as my own. When I hear him groan in response, I figure it’s time to stop because I can feel his excitement, which reminds me that we really need to discuss the mandatory one-hundred foot policy during the nuptials.

He brings me back to a standing position and ends the kiss with a light, feathery soft peck to my lips. “Wow,” I sigh, still trying to catch my breath.

Blake raises his hand to move one of the curled sections of my hair off of my face. I reach back to make sure my bun in still intact, and find it’s still holding strong. Not that I’m surprised. Harlow put a whole package of bobby pins in the thing.

After a few seconds of gathering ourselves, Blake offers his arm, and I loop mine through, hugging his massive shoulder as we walk together.

“Last chance to back out,” I say smiling up at him.

“Nah,” he simply states. “I’ve been waiting to call you mine my whole life, and tonight I plan on showing you just how mine you are.” The air is sucked out of my lungs as I come to a standstill.

He says nothing else, just leans over to give me a sensual kiss on the neck before leaving me on my own to practically orgasm in front of our family and friends. I can hear him laughing as he walks away and a grin breaks across my face.

Jerk.

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?

Well

This is our story.

Read my review of Running on Empty
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

recovery_jacket

Other books in the series or related posts:

BIRTHDAY PEEK: Running in Place by L.B. Simmons

Some books will make you cry, some will make you laugh, some will elate you, and some will leave you upset for days … and then once in a blue moon a book will come along that will make you feel like you’re floating on air, every page, every scene warming your heart because it is written from the heart. Running on Empty left me smiling and sighing from happiness every time I thought about this story.

A beautifully written tale of second chances at love, of missed opportunities and allowing one’s heart to love again, this book became an instant favourite of mine and it not only put one of the sweetest authors around on my radar, it made me want to read anything she ever writes in the future.

Read my review of Running on Empty
Buy Running on Empty: Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Today, my friend L.B. Simmons is giving us a very exclusive little peek at her next book, the second book in the Mending Hearts series. This is not a teaser and this is not a synopsis – this is the first EVER look at Running in Place

Expected release date: 2013

Tatum O’Connell:

Some call me a party girl. People see me as happy, full of life, with absolutely no cares in the world. They see what I want them to see. But no one knows me… really knows  me. No one sees the lonely little girl who resides in my soul. The little girl whose own mother couldn’t care less about her. The little girl who was left alone, raising herself while her mother drowned herself daily in alcohol and depression. The little girl who lost her daddy when she was six, and who would give anything to have him back. No one sees… me. So here I am at the tender age of twenty-three, living my life as a perpetual party girl. Only a semester shy of graduating college… but, I won’t do it. I won’t give her the satisfaction. For now, I’m stuck working in my brother’s bar – the bar he and Blake opened together just recently. Trace came back to keep an eye on me and the first thing he made me do was start working for him. I’m pretty sure he put his little minion, Noah Reese, aka bar manager, on “Tatum duty”. Noah Reese. He’s hot, there’s no doubt about it. I can’t keep my eyes off of him actually. With his brown spiky hair, light brown eyes offset by his impossibly dark lashes… he’s gorgeous. And when he comes into the bar, with some perfect, Barbie blonde girl draping herself all over him, I get a tad upset. Those girls aren’t right for him. Not that I am, I’m not right for anyone. Sure, I have my boyfriend. But I’m not in love with him, and actually, he’s kind of a jerk. So, if Noah wants to keep an eye on me, that’s fine. I definitely don’t mind. But, I hope he doesn’t have any plans to save me from my life of self-destruction. Because, in order to save me, he will have to see me… and I’m never going to let that happen.

Noah Reese:

Perfect. That’s me. That’s the only acceptable way to be, according to my father. I loathe the man. There was never any love from him growing up. Just lecture after lecture about how anything less than perfect was intolerable. Perfect grades. Perfect manners. Perfect athlete. Perfect SAT scores. Perfect college. Now, I have to get into the perfect med school. I would like to tell him what a perfect asshole father he is.  But I won’t.  It takes too much energy to argue with him; this I learned this lesson at a very young age. He wasn’t always this way. But after mom died, he changed and I was forced to change with him. The only little bit of reprieve I get is working in Trace’s bar. No expectations there.  In addition, I have recently also acquired another job. Trace asked me to keep an eye on his little sister, Tatum. That girl… she’s outta control. Drunken and disorderly… every goddamn night. Her and her loser boyfriend. He’s such a dick to her… it takes everything in me to not knock his ass out. I can’t even be in the same room with them. But, I told Trace I would watch out for her, because there’s just something about her. I can’t help it. She’s breathtaking… long black hair and light blue eyes. One of the most beautiful smiles I’ve ever seen. But, she’s also like a lost little girl who needs help. I see the façade… the front she puts up for other people. And I recognize her pain, no matter how good she is at trying to cover it up. She’s clearly hiding something, I know it. So, I watch her closely, never really saying much, hoping that one day she’ll let me in. But watching her lead her life down the dangerous path she’s on right now isn’t going to be easy. I have a funny feeling I’m about to find myself lost in the hurricane that is Tatum O’Connell.

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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win one of THREE e-copies of Running on Empty, please enter below. By entering, you accept the following Giveaway Conditions.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series or related posts:

BONUS SCENE: Running on Empty by L.B. Simmons

I am so very honoured to be the first stop in the Running on Empty Blog Tour!! This book will make you feel like you’re indulging in a warm bubble bath, all your senses being spoiled, serenely happy and without a worry in the world. It will warm your heart in so many wonderful ways you’ll never want to leave the delightful world of Alex, Blake, Harlow and the three munchkins that steal the show every chance they get.

Read my full review HERE..

Today, we have something very special in store from the wonderful L.B. Simmons – an EXCLUSIVE scene from Blake’s POV!!! Yep, I am not kidding, she wrote it just for us! So, put some bubbles in that bath, grab a glass of wine, sit back and let Blake take charge…

RunningonEmpty2I had the perfect life.

Beautiful and loving husband.

Three gorgeous little girls.

Successful career.

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?

The Exclusive Scene from Blake’s POV

Waco. Founded 1849.

I shake my head and accelerate as I pass the sign. I can’t believe I’m back here. For her. How many times have I tried to get that woman out of my mind… yet, I’m here.

I hate this town. Well, maybe not the town itself, but everything it represents. My past. With absolutely no future.

As I whip in and out of traffic, I know my first stop has to be my parents. Then, I’ll need to meet up with Harlow later today, to get this all worked out. If I know Alex, she’s not going to make this easy. So I think it’s better to have some sort of plan of approach, and since Harlow’s the mastermind behind all of this, she can handle that part. I have absolutely no idea why she thinks my being here is going to be of any help to Alex. I haven’t spoken to her in years.

I shake my head again. That woman. Alex. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. And then immediately push her out of my mind. Maybe by coming back here, I can actually find some sort of closure with this goddamned obsession. She sure as hell hasn’t made any attempt to contact me. Not that she would, stubborn ass woman. But even after all these years, she still gets under my skin. No matter what I do, she’s always there, in my thoughts. And it has to stop.

I whip my bike to the right to try to pass this old clunker truck going no more than twenty miles an hour, when I see a woman standing on the side of the interstate trying to flag someone down for help. Something’s obviously wrong. I decide to pull over and offer my help because this damn woman is standing way to close to the traffic lanes. I ease my bike onto the side of the interstate behind the truck. I watch her turn and start to walk in the opposite direction. Where the hell does she think she’s going?

I cut off the ignition and get off the bike. When I turn around and see her standing there, both my heart and my stomach immediately contract. You have GOT to be kidding me.

I slowly begin making my way to her, trying to bide time to figure out the best way to handle this. I watch her eyes move slowly from my boots to my face. I can’t help but chuckle to myself. Yep, I think she approves. I’ve grown up, Alex. Surprised?

As I get closer to her, my chuckle turns into an outright laugh. What the hell is all over her shirt? I narrow my eyes on her head. And what the hell is going on with her hair?

I watch as the realization that it’s me standing right in front of her displays itself all over her face.

“Well, Blake Morgan. What the hell are you doing back in town?”

Out of frustration I run my hand through my hair and snicker at her audacity, because by her tone, I know this is not going to go well. And it pisses me off. It’s not like I asked to run into her stubborn ass this morning. I didn’t even plan on seeing her until tomorrow at the very earliest. Now, I’m getting bitched out? I don’t think so.

“I really don’t see what’s so funny, Blake. I’m sure it’s easy to laugh when it isn’t you sitting on the side of the interstate at eight o’clock in the morning.”

That’s it.

I’m not doing this with her today.If she wants to aggravate me, she’s succeeded.

“Actually, Alex, I am sitting on the side of the interstate… at eight o’clock in the morning. I think that automatically gives me some allowance to laugh at the situation. However, that’s not what I’m laughing at. What I’m actually laughing at is that I’m literally just driving in to this god-forsaken town when I see you, stranded on the side of the road and because I’m such a nice guy, I’m forced to stop and help. Fate tends to be cruel sometimes.”

Very cruel.

I watch her face pinch in anger, and it takes everything in me not to laugh again. Because no matter how pissed I am, there’s no denying that she has probably one of the cutest angry faces I’ve ever seen. She always had. Which is why I would try to piss her off as much as possible when we were kids.

She raises her hands and continues her rant. “Look, I didn’t ask you to stop so don’t take it out on me that you’re a nice guy, although I think your definition of nice might be a little skewed when compared to normal people’s. If you don’t want to help, then don’t. I don’t have time for this sh*t, Blake. I have to get to a gas station, get gas, get back here, get my car started, and get to work so that I can avoid being strangled by my business partner… all in about twenty minutes. So if you don’t mind, please be on your way and find another damsel in distress so you can meet this nice guy quota that you must have to complete. It was wonderful to see you again, Blake. I hope to not see you around anytime soon.”

Well, she definitely hasn’t lost any spunk over the years. She turns away from me and starts walking as fast as she can. I watch her trip a couple of times and suddenly I’m scared for her life. All I need is for her to trip herself into oncoming traffic. Shit. I need to get this woman off of the side of the road.

I march back to my bike and climb on, turning on the ignition as fast as I can. I rev the engine a couple of times; I really should have Larry take a look at it. It hasn’t been acting right lately.

I coast up beside her, on her left side, to prevent her from getting any closer to the traffic. “Get on!” She keeps her eyes forward. “Um, no. Thanks.”

Jesus Christ! I want to strangle this woman and I haven’t even been around her for five minutes. I stay right beside her. “Get on the bike, Alex!!” She stops and faces me.

“Seriously, Blake, get on with your good deeds for the day! I. Am. Fine!” She turns to continue on her journey.

No, she’s not fine. In fact, nothing about this situation is fine. I’ll be damned if I am gonna let her walk her ass anywhere. It’s unsafe for her to be out here, alone, walking to God knows where. I cut the engine and jump off the bike. I’m getting really tired of this sh*t. She’s acting like she’s twelve f*cking years old. This has got to stop. I walk up behind her and grab her arm. She wants to act like a child… I’ll sure as hell treat her like one. I turn her back towards me, our faces only inches apart. I feel her warm breath on my mouth and it takes everything in me not to grab her and bring her beautiful pouty lips to mine. After a long, excruciating second, I push the tempting thoughts out of my mind and get back to reality.

“Alex, get your ass on this bike. I’ll take you to your office. We can deal with your truck later. I can still get you there within the now,” I look down at my watch, “fifteen minute time frame to make sure you don’t getting strangled by your business partner. Think about it. Is your pride more important than your business?”

She yanks her arm free from my hold. Her mouth pops open and she looks down, I’m assuming at the tight ass skirt she’s wearing. Damn, she looks good. Really goddamn good.

“Get on your bike? In this?” She moves her hand up and down, displaying her outfit. “Not gonna happen, buddy.” Buddy?

“Alex, if I have to pick you up, put you over my shoulder, and physically place you on my bike, I will. So yes, it’s gonna happen. You can either do so with dignity, or we can do it my way. Your choice.” Jesus, I sound like I’m talking to a child. Who am I kidding? I am talking to a child.

I watch her eye me with some weird expression on her face. What the hell is that supposed to do? I continue to hold her stare, knowing I’m right. She’ll have to break eventually.

“Fine!” She shouts in my face.

Well, that didn’t take near as long as I expected. I let out a long sigh, because as traffic continues to whip by us, I’m reminded that I need to just get her out of here. I turn to walk to my bike, glancing back to make sure she’s following, which she is, although very slowly. Thank God.

Grabbing a helmet, I take a couple of steps back towards her, meeting her halfway since she’s obviously still trying to figure out a way to get out of this. I walk up to her and hand her the helmet. Since she’s so short, I have no choice but to look again at the top of her head. What the hell is that? “Um… I think you have something in your hair.”

I reach to touch it and she slaps my hand. The nerve of this woman. I’m only trying to save her life here. Let’s not waste time… I don’t know, being grateful or anything.

“It’s a present from my daughter.” She slams the helmet down on her head and I watch as she clumsily tries to buckle the chin strap. She’s doing it all wrong. I slap her hand away, partly for payback, mostly just to piss her off. I buckle it and as I look into her beautiful brown eyes, I let my fingers linger on her chin. God, how many years I have wanted to just touch her. I allow myself the luxury for a couple of seconds and then drop my hand. I’m not here for this. I’m here as a friend, for her. Nothing more. I can’t afford to let years of emotions get in the way right now.

I watch her face as it softens. “Thank you, Blake.” Something about her brief vulnerability makes me want to smile. I can’t help but hope there is still a little bit of the old Alex in there. If there is, I’ll find it. But I can’t go getting soft with her right now. I know how she works. That will only scare her and make things worse. No, I need to stay distant. I turn to grab my keys out of my pocket and take in a deep breath. I clear the smile from my face and turn back towards her. “Let’s just get this over with.”

I see the hurt flash in her eyes and it kills me. There’s nothing more I want to do than grab her and take the pain away from her. I can see it all over her face. I see it in her saddened eyes. It’s everywhere. And it absolutely breaks my heart, more than she ever did. But for her to get over this, it’s gonna take some maneuvering… and tough love. Her face immediately hardens in response to my curtness as she angrily states, “I agree.”

As we turn to walk together, I can see her trying to figure out how the hell she’s going to manage to get her ass on the bike. I know what she’s going to have to do, and I gather by the look on her face she’s just figured it out as well.

“Go ahead and get on.” She signals for me to get on, and I do. I choose not to say anything, because I can tell she’s pretty much had it today. I don’t even look back while she’s fixing her skirt, even though every bone in my body wants to. I just face forward until she’s ready, feeling relief when she puts her hands on my shoulders to climb on. Jesus, all of this shit to get her off this goddamn road.

She doesn’t sit right away for some reason. I can feel her shuffling around behind me. I feel her pull me a little when makes her move to sit down. Then I hear…

“Woo-hoo!”

“Nice legs!”

“Ride me, baby!”

My first instinct is to chase those punk asses down, but I guess I have forgotten Alex can take care of herself.

“Get to work assholes!” she yells in my ear. I immediately start laughing. She’s always reminded me of a little Chihuahua. Angrily yapping away.

“Shut up, Blake. Let’s go!” She puts her arms around me and I smile. This just feels so right.

“Do you know where you’re going?” Still lost in the feeling of her holding me, I speak before I think. “Yeah, you bought Ms. Parnell’s old office, right?” Shiiiiiit. I’m not supposed to know that. Shit.

“Er – yes. How did you know that?” I let out a quick breath. I’ve got it.

“My parents still live here, Alex. I know a lot of things,” I say, trying to exert confidence. I really hope she didn’t catch my mistake. But just in case, I don’t give her the chance to ask anything else. I turn the key, start the bike, and pull out onto the highway.

On our way to Alex’s office, all I can think is… Harlow is going to absolutely shit a brick when she sees this. This should be interesting.

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
✤ ✤ ✤
Mending Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
runningonempty
Recovery_322x500
runninginplace_322x500

Running on Empty: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Recovery (novella): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Running in Place: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤
The Giveaway

To win ONE of five e-copies of Running on Empty, ENTER HERE:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Blog Tour

Running on Empty_BT banner

For a full list of the Running on Empty Blog Tour stops, click on the image above.

Other books in the series or related posts:

BOOK REVIEW: Running on Empty by L.B. Simmons

RunningonEmpty2I had the perfect life.

Beautiful and loving husband.

Three gorgeous little girls.

Successful career.

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?

review

“I love you, Alex. I loved you when we were kids… and I’ve continued to love you every day since.”

Have you ever read a book that made you feel like you’re indulging in a warm bubble bath, all your senses being spoiled, serenely happy and without a worry in the world? This is that book. It will warm your heart in so many wonderful ways you’ll never want to leave the delightful world of Alex, Blake, Harlow and the three munchkins that steal the show every chance they get.

Alex is a young single mother of three beautiful daughters under ten years of age, having lost her husband when her youngest was only a baby. Her entire life revolves around her children’s happiness, putting their needs first, making every decision with them in mind and neglecting the deep hole that was left in her heart after her husband passed away. Deep down, Alex is lonely, inconsolably desolate from having lost her husband, a man she had loved most of her life. Her sadness suffocates her, slowly extinguishing the bright spark in her eyes, as she longs for the love and partnership she once had, but believing she would never find it again. Or let herself find it again.

Alex hides her sadness and pain but those who love her see it clearly and cannot help but want for her to move on with her life and find happiness again.

“You go on, each day, as though you’re happy and at peace with your life. Or at least trying to convince yourself that you are. But you also go on, each day, not really living.”

And then her oldest friend comes back to town. Once inseparable as children, their lives took different paths once she met the man she would eventually marry but they never forgot the unconditional love they once shared. Blake re-enters her life in a moment of desperate need, forcing her to not only accept what she hates accepting the most from others – help – but also to consider letting another man in her heart again. Blake is patient, considerate, understanding – he knows Alex better than she knows herself, always seeing her attempts at pushing him away as fear rather than lack of interest.

“It’s so much easier for me to cling to the memories of happiness than to consider any possibility of losing someone again.”

And so it starts an entertaining but genuinely touching battle inside Alex. On one side, she dreams of being taken care of again, of being loved, cherished, protected by someone like Blake, someone EXACTLY like Blake.

“I feel safe. I feel protected. I feel relief. I feel scared. I feel vulnerable. I feel desire. I feel… Everything.”

She is drawn to him, her feelings for him are easily ignited, being founded on years of affection and friendship. But her fear of experiencing heart-shattering loss again paralyses her, filling her with apprehension and doubts. She rationalises this in her head by convincing herself that she is protecting her daughters from potential pain and loss, but it is her own terror of the unknown that keeps her from embracing her feelings for Blake.

In this heart-warming story of second chances at happiness in life, we are shown that sometimes it is not the heart that needs to move on, but rather the mind that stalls the heart from embracing love again. Even when the right person is before your eyes, the mind plays tricks on you and convinces you to see what fear wants you to see. Until it is too late…

Through humour, sarcasm, compelling heartache, we are given a beautifully written account of a young woman’s battle with herself. Torn between her heart and what her head tells her she should be feeling or not feeling, Alex tries hard to reconcile her late husband’s role in her life with what her heart is undeniably feeling now. A novel by one of the genuinely nicest authors around, this book will elate you and entertain you, it will make you laugh out loud through bittersweet tears in your eyes and it will make you grin ear to ear. With a loveable group of characters, each one of them leaving a deep mark in your heart, this is a story that will stay with you and make you consider all the missed opportunities and all the ‘what-ifs’ in your own life.

“You’ll never have your happy ending unless you’re brave enough to open the book and start your story.”

4halfstars

signature2

addtogoodreads

Buy book: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
✤ ✤ ✤
Mending Hearts – Reading Order and Purchase Links
runningonempty
Recovery_322x500
runninginplace_322x500

Running on Empty: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Recovery (novella): My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback
Running in Place: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU | Paperback

✤ ✤ ✤
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: Running on Empty by L.B. Simmons

RunningonEmpty2I had the perfect life.

Beautiful and loving husband.

Three gorgeous little girls.

Successful career.

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?

excerpt

I turn my hand over and stroke his cheek. He puts his head down and I force him to look at me again.

“Shh, Blake. That’s enough. I don’t want to hear any of that right now. Derek’s death was tragic. It was heartbreaking. It was too much for me some days. But you listen to me. There is nothing you could have done if you were here that would have protected me from that pain. You need to know that. You need to believe that. I’m not going to waste time rehashing this crap, especially now that I finally have you back in my life. It happened. It’s over. I’m fine. End of story. I refuse to listen to you tear yourself up over something you had no control over.”

He says nothing more. He just grabs my wrist and pulls my body into his, being careful not to hurt my hand. He rests his cheek on top of mine and whispers solemnly into my ear, “Never again, Alex. Never. Again.”

He leaves his cheek against mine and I feel his breath in my ear. He wraps his big arms around me and we stay like that for some time. The warmth from the closeness of our bodies and the heat of his breath in my ear cause my heart rate to triple. Yet, with my heart beating a million miles a minute, I feel a strange calm. I want to let go of everything. I want to sink my body into his and let him be strong for me. I want to let him take my pain, my sadness, my exhaustion… everything that keeps me from being truly happy. I want his arms to stay around me… his warmth and protection. But as a familiar lump forms in my throat, I know this will never happen.

I can’t allow it.

I won’t allow it.

Blake is more right than he could possibly know.

Never. Again.

addtogoodreads

Buy book: My reviewAmazon US | Amazon UK | Smashwords | B&N
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.

Connect with L.B.: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads
The Giveaway

To win an e-copy of Running on Empty, please ENTER HERE (contest open internationally):

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Other books in the series or related posts:

COVER REVEAL: Running on Empty by L.B. Simmons

A book about second chances in life, a book about finding love again… Book junkies, I give you … the cover for Running On Empty

Expected release date: 9 January 2013

RunningonEmpty2

“I glance over to my driveway. “No bike today?” He runs his hand through his hair as he turns to look as well. “Nope. I wouldn’t take the bike on a dress-up breakfast date. What kind of man do you take me for?” He turns back around and offers me a sexy grin. “The girls have been planning this one for a while; you really should keep an eye on your cell phone, Alex.”

Oh… my devious, devious children.”

The Story

I had the perfect life.

Beautiful and loving husband.

Three gorgeous little girls.

Successful career.

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?

addtogoodreads

Connect with L.B.: WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Goodreads
Other books in the series or related posts:
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox

Join other followers