Pulled by A.L. Jackson - Blog Tour, Excerpt & Book Review

Melanie Winters and Daniel Montgomery shared a love most only dream of, a love they believed bonded them together for life. 

When their world is shattered by the tragic loss of their daughter, overwhelming grief and misguided guilt distorts the truth, and their relationship ends in uncertainty and unanswered questions.

For nine years, they drift through life, each unable to forget the one who holds the strings to their heart. In an attempt to escape the pain of her past, Melanie finds herself trapped in a loveless marriage, while Daniel loses himself in a career that means nothing without Melanie by his side.

Now, when their lives again intersect, neither can deny the connection they felt so long ago. But will the power that drew them together be enough to heal the wounds from their past, and will they have the courage to overcome the insecurities and fears that threaten to keep them apart?

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.

"Okay, this one did it for me in a big way. I'm an angst-lover. And by that I mean, I'm a Thoughtless, Beautiful Disaster, Love Unscripted, Slammed, Fifty Shades of Everything, kind of reader. But there's gotta be an HEA. And not a half-done HEA but a real yeah-this-story-has-been-agonizing-but-look-it-was-all-worth-it HEA. So, that said, I earnestly recommend this book. If you're like me, you'll like this. Enjoy!" LitJunkie

I stared down the hallway. Both fear and longing consumed me. I willed myself to walk, but every footstep was heavy, dragging with what I feared I would soon be regret. I stalled outside his door, my heart listening to his. I could feel it pounding, drawing me forward. 

I didn’t even knock. I turned the knob and pushed the door open. My feet locked in place when I saw him. Daniel. I blinked several times as I took him in. He was leaning over, bracing himself with his palms flat on his desk. He must have realized that it was me just before I opened the door. His head was cocked, his hazel eyes wide. 

I couldn’t move. I felt as if I were caught in time and the second hand was unable to tick on. 

Finally he rose, cautious and slow. His eyes were fierce and desperate, a fire that I’d never seen before burning behind them. My feet moved of their own accord and my arm dropped from the door. Silently it closed behind me. Everything in the room was still except for the energy roaring between us. 

“Melanie,” he called to me, a whisper directly to my heart, pumping it with life. I was mesmerized as he wet his dry lips. His shoulders were held rigid, his chest trembling with his staggered breaths. I felt it all—his longing, his desire, his hunger. And I knew he could feel mine. Quivering under his intense stare, my muscles twitched in anticipation. My knees went weak when I saw him snap, undecided no more. 

I could barely register the movement before he rounded his desk, and his lips crashed against mine. His hands sank into my hair, pulling my body roughly against his. 

It felt as if my body had burst into flames with his sudden touch. Everything about him was overpowering, consuming, dominating. Rough and gentle at the same time. 

I pressed into him, my chest against his, our hearts beating in rhythm. Digging my fingers into his neck, I struggled to get closer. We were desperate as we clung to each other. We needed to feel, to heal the scars disfiguring our hearts, to erase some of the hurt. His hands rushed with need, twisted through my curls, down my back, and then into my hair again. His kiss was forceful—too intense—ice and fire and sweet—all Daniel. I breathed him in, touched him, memorized the way he smelled, the way he felt.

His hair was so soft between my fingers. A shiver traveled down his spine. 

With a sudden slant of his head, he swept his tongue across my lip. I opened to him, drawing him in. There was no teasing or testing. Aggressively, he moved his mouth with mine, sucking in my bottom lip at the same time he bit at it. Rough. Hard. Perfect. He pushed me back against the door, his body flush with mine. A moan escaped my mouth. 

Oh, how I had missed this body. 

I ran my hands over his shoulders and down his arms, his muscles firm under my touch. His lips were incessant, his tongue hot and wet. 

Fisting a hand in my hair, he pulled it tight, exposing my neck. His movements slowed as he licked down the sensitive skin, seeking out the spot behind my ear he knew would ruin me. He sucked, tugging with his lips, lingering at the delicate hollow below my jaw. I drew in a ragged breath, and my emotions caught up with me. He remembered. 

He kissed his way back up, found my mouth again. Fingertips caressed and massaged the back of my neck, the skin afire with his touch. 

When he grabbed the back of my knee and hooked my leg over his hip, I gasped. His palm traveled up the exposed flesh of my thigh, his thumb rubbing circles, coaxing, persuading, demanding a reaction. I pushed back into him, my body deprived of his for far too long. 

“Melanie, my love,” he whispered, the words vibrating against my lips. 

“Daniel,” I breathed into his mouth. 

He pulled back, hooded eyes flaming in their intensity as they sought mine. I couldn’t look away as I peered deep into his soul. The love I found there was never ending, but shrouded in vast regret, grief imprinted on his heart. He ran his nose along my cheek, murmuring in my ear, this time the words dripping in sadness. “Only you.”

Those words resonated in the air, and as much as I knew he wanted to convince himself that they were true, they weren’t. 

The weight of what I was doing crushed me. Thoughts of his wife and child lay heavy on my heart, and I remembered how we had gotten here in the first place. He hadn’t chosen me. He didn’t want me.

With trembling hands, I shook my head, trying to keep my insecurities from pouring out. It was impossible. The feelings of complete rejection I’d swallowed down and harbored for all these years came bubbling to the surface and spilled over, erupted as tears rushing down my face. 

“You didn’t want me.”

Pulled is captivating and a heart-wrenching story of two individuals who were dealt with a devastating tragedy that they were both too young to overcome. The tragedy opened them to all the vulnerabilities and fears which later on caused their separation only to be reunited again after nine years.

Daniel and Melanie were both in high school when they met. Melanie Winters came to live with her dad who was having a difficult time dealing with his latest divorce. Daniel Montgomery was a senior who was prepping up to become a doctor. He was so pissed with his sister, who was always trying to set him up with one of her friends, but the moment he set his eyes on Melanie, he knows it will change the course of his life. It was like there was an unseen energy that immediately bound them together. They were instantly drawn to each other and their meet up had sealed their lives forever. It may seem like a young love but what they felt was more than that. It was more than infatuation. They were united by the bond which will transcend through the years even when they were miles apart. 

A devastating lost will throw them off their loop and will force them to go live their separate lives. Melanie will tie herself to an older man who exudes control. She will void herself of the emotions and even though she feels so numb, knowing that there is no reason to live, it’s as if there’s someone who was always whispering behind her to fight for her life.

Daniel was feeling the same although, with the support of his family, he was able to survive. He became a successful doctor and even if there were many women who would throw themselves at him, no one can be at par with Melanie. What he had with them was purely physical but no one can reclaim his heart, because it would always belong to Melanie, and she may have brought it with her the moment she left.

9 years later, they’ll cross paths again. Will they let their insecurities, fears, and doubts take over their love? Or will they be mature this time and confront their problems in the past and face their future together? 

What Daniel and Melanie had was real but they were both so young to deal with their emotions and go into battle with their decisions. They were pressured by other people and in doing so, it created a gap between and among the characters which later on shattered their relationships. 

They made awful decisions that changed their lives and caused so much heartache and pain along the way. How delightful would it be if all the key players shared what they felt at liberty. If only Melanie’s jealousy and insecurity didn’t obstruct her reasoning from talking to Daniel; If only Daniel didn’t let his guilt oppressed his love for Melanie; If only Erin was strong enough to have found a way to reconcile the two; If only Peggy was brave enough to dispute her husband’s decision. Then everyone would have been happy and they would have saved their lives from years of misery and unhappiness. 

For a relationship to be solid, trust should always be an ingredient of the foundation. Do not let your vulnerabilities, fears, and doubts cloud your judgment when it comes to relationship. Believe in what you have. It’s also important to have an open communication. However distressful the things you want to open up, it’s important that the other party learns about it. Assurance is also important. Prove that you’re worth the trust. Share all the skeletons in your closet. 

Above all the bad experiences they had away from each other, I think it was Eva, their unborn child, who was at play at making them finally find each other again. Andrew Daniel came at a point when they really need someone to hold on to. He was a gift that Daniel and Melanie truly deserved. Melanie may not really conceived him, but she loved him nonetheless.

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 If Forever Comes, Pulled and When We Collide, as well as the New Adult Romance Come To Me Quietly due out January 7, 2014. 

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.

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