Tag Archives: former best friends

Release Blitz: Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken

Bring Me Home | Nicola Haken

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Release Date: October 11th, 2021

Cover Design: Golden Czermak at FuriousFotog

Universal Link: https://bit.ly/3alAccc

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58914491-bring-me-home

READ MY REVIEW

Bring Me Home Ebook Cover

Blurb

Hugo Hayes has it all; the voice, the money, the looks. Adored by fans all over the world, there’s nothing more he could ever wish for. Or so it appears. But no one sees what happens off stage. Nobody knows where he came from, what he goes through, where he’s heading…

Except the girl he left behind. She’ll know. She always did.

Helen Jenkins is starting over. Back on the diet and heading for a career change, it’s time to stop wallowing in the past and give up missing the best friend who traded her in for fame and glory eight years ago. Harder than it sounds when his image and voice seem to follow her wherever she goes…

Harder still when he appears at her front door one rainy spring night.

Hugo is falling. After all these years, will Helen still be prepared to catch him before the inevitable crash? Or has he lost the only home he’s ever known, forever?

Bring Me Home Teaser 1

Excerpt

We had to wait for the cameras to capture an appropriate amount of applause before someone shouted, “Cut!” and when they did, I was outta that chair before the word had finished leaving their mouth. I stormed from the set, ripping the mic pack from my back, eyes focused on my target.

Drew.

He raised his hands in a protective stance, his mouth melting into an apologetic frown.

“Don’t ever do that to me again,” I barked, shoving the mic pack into his chest. I didn’t wait around to listen to his excuses or apologies. I needed out. Out of the studio, out of the heat, the whole fucking building. I barged past crew members, blustered through mazes of corridors lined with framed photos of stars from the various TV shows produced here, until I found a set of exit doors.

The rush of air smacking me in the face as I pushed open the double doors felt like breaking the surface of the ocean. Finally, I could breathe again, after being pinned under water for almost an hour, splashing, screaming, begging, too far from the shore for anyone to notice. Outside, I leaned back against a wall, closed my eyes. I had about a minute before hyperventilation set in and I lost control of my senses.

Breathe,I told myself. One, two, three, four…hold… I inhaled slowly, focused on my diaphragm, the vision of it expanding a little more with every breath. One, two, three, four… Box breathing, a therapist had called it back in my high school days. Belly breathing, said another. Sometimes it worked, if I noticed myself slipping in time. Other times, the anxiety flourished so quickly it retained all the power, leaving me helpless. Scared.

“There you are.” I was vaguely aware of Helen’s voice, but I couldn’t distract myself enough to focus on it. “Hugo?”

One, two, three, four…

“It’s okay, Hugo. I’m right here.”

I heard her footsteps come closer. It made my heart rate spike, the nerves under my skin feel like barbed wire. No. Not Helen. If I couldn’t bear Helen’s touch…where did that leave me?

Alone. Forever.

One, two, three, four…

“It’ll be over soon,” Helen whispered, cupping my cheek.

I felt the muscles freeze inside my body. Nausea tore through my stomach. Irritation tightened my lips. “Get off,” I mouthed, teeth gritted. I felt like a bastard, a useless and selfish motherfucker, but I couldn’t stand it. Her skin on my skin. The sound of her breath. “I’m sorry,” I choked out, because I was. Truly fucking sorry. I lovedher…but I couldn’t be near her, couldn’t even look at her. Not yet.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” she said softly, footsteps retreating. She understood. She fucking understood.

Why?Why was she still here? She deserved better than this.

The end befell eventually. Always did. After what could’ve been several minutes or an hour, a sense of calm encircled me, floated from above like weightless chiffon and moulded itself to my body. Breathing became natural again. I could smell the brine from the canal that ran the length of the studios and beyond. I could hear Helen…and appreciate her.

My eyes peeled open. “Hey.”

She smiled, though her eyes looked heavy. Sad. “Hey.”

Bring Me Home Collage

About The Author

Born in Manchester, England, Nicola Haken is an author of multiple genre-hopping romance novels, including Bring Me Home, Broken, and Goodbye Kate.

She lives in Rochdale with her husband, four children, and a menagerie of pets, is addicted to Pepsi Max and chicken nuggets, and wishes Harry Styles was her best friend. Like one of her characters, Hugo Hayes, Nicola is autistic, and has battled with her mental health her entire life – winning every time…eventually. With two of her kids also on the spectrum, life can get pretty…interesting!

When she’s not locked in her office playing with her imaginary friends, she can usually be found reading, binge-watching boxsets, or belting out great songs and pretending she doesn’t sound like a cat in distress.

Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

Social Media

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolahakenauthor

Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/NicolaHaken

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Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/nicolahaken

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/nicola-haken

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/nicolahaken

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/author/nicolahaken

Website: https://www.nicolahaken.co.uk

Bring Me Home Available Now

Hugo and Helen’s journey touched my soul

58914491._SY475_Bring Me Home by Nicola Haken

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nicola Haken has a small catalogue of books but every one of them has touched me deep in my soul.

Bring Me Home is no exception, in fact it’s one of the rawest in terms of how mental illness can distort your world view and make you feel like you’re worthless even when you’re a mega famous rock star.

Hugo broke my heart, his autism adds another dimension to his mental health issues but it’s never made to be a defining issue.

His autism isn’t what causes Hugo’s life to start collapsing around him, it’s the depression he’s never really found a way to handle – not since he left his best friend Helen behind eight years ago that is.

Helen is one of life’s rocks. She’s grounded, although she’s not without issues herself, and she’s tried to put the past behind her. After losing her mother, she’s facing life truly on her own and forging ahead with a determination that is inspiring. She’s strong, but ultimately flawed like all of us.

This book tells a story which takes the reader on a journey through forgiveness, through understanding and reconnecting. It walks the path of two best friends who have always been everything to each other and perhaps more.

It pulls no punches when it deals with the insidious way that depression and mental health issues can distort your world view until there seems to be no way forward.

But it is also filled with joy, with hope, with understanding and with people who will provide the foundations on which a new path can be built. There is no cure for depression or autism or mental health dysfunctionality.

There is, however, structured methods for how to deal with it, there’s support networks, medication which can help to provide an even keel. There’s love, so much love, more than Hugo realised he was surrounded by.

Phoebe, Hugo’s superb therapist, describes his brain as a computer with a virus and herself and his IT gal, there to help him reboot his neurons and put them back in the right place. I thought this absolutely nailed it perfectly.

It helps Hugo understand that he has done nothing wrong. It’s not a choice he made, it’s a hand he’s been dealt and she’s there to provide him with all the support to find the right way to play it.

I loved her almost as much as I loved Helen. Ezra, Hugo’s bodyguard, is also a fabulous person, he’s there in the background, a sort of older brother/father figure. Drew, his manager, while a flawed character capable of making mistakes, is also doing everything he does from a place of love. Their relationship is turbulent but ultimately supportive.

And Chrissie, someone who starts as a sort of throwaway figure, who Helen isn’t sure she’s even really friends with, provides not only some levity to the narrative but support for Helen and is, without any doubt, a best friend, someone she can turn to at the darkest times.

I think what I loved the most about this book is that the falling in love bit was so natural. Hugo and Helen are each other’s forever and it’s been clear from the time they met, aged just four. The things which separated them on the way, only served to make them stronger.

Be aware of the warnings. This book covers heavy subjects, there are triggers for depression, for drug use (prescription not illegal), for desperate measures when all seems lost, for inpatient treatment at a clinic.

Ultimately, though, it’s a beautiful story about love, about soulmates, about walking a path together in the best way you can. It’s an authentic journey, told with real voices and I loved it.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

Blog Tour: Friendly Fire by Saxon James

Friendly Fire | Saxon James

A Never Just Friends Novel #4

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Release Date: August 23rd, 2021

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Friendly Fire Cover

Blurb

Rafe
It started in high school.
We grew apart. Bit by bit, then all at once.
The friend who was my ride or die suddenly wanted nothing to do with me.
Now Cam’s back from college, living in the house next door, and pulling stupid pranks just to annoy me.
Between my intense family and my failing relationship, I’m struggling enough without his antics.
But Cam won’t go away. And I’m not so sure I want him to.

Cam
It started with a smile.
A touch.
A shared look of mischief.
Rafael Ortega stole my heart before I realised it was mine to give away.
We were best friends from the time we were in diapers right up until the unthinkable happened: he started dating.
I put distance between us to save myself, but now I’m back, willing to do anything for his attention again.
Because the only thing worse than Rafe breaking my heart…
Is him not getting a chance to.

Friendly Fire is the final book in the Never Just Friends series. It’s a low angst childhood-best-friends-to-lovers romance with skinny dipping, sex toys, and one final happily ever after.

FF Teaser 3

Excerpt

“So what are we watching?”

Rafe drops onto the cushion next to mine, and I hate that he can’t do something as simple as that without my breath catching. Someone needs to turn the hose on me.

“Dunno. There has to be a series or something that looks interesting.”

“You want to start a series with me, Rafe? Wow. That sounds like a big commitment, and I’m not sure our relationship is ready.”

He blinks at me.

I grin. “Kidding. Obviously. Carry on.”

He’s quiet as he scrolls through the options, and I notice him glance at me from the corner of his eye a couple of times.

“What?”

He jumps at being caught. “Just thinking.”

“About?”

“Whether your mouth has always been so out of control.”

“There’s a lot about my mouth you don’t know.”

Rafe shakes his head. “I walked into that one, didn’t I?”

“Less walked and more steam rolled, but yep.” I adjust my baseball cap, then point at the screen. “You’re still as indecisive as ever.”

He huffs and tosses me the remote. “You choose.”

“Fine.” I hit play on some Sci-Fi show he’d hesitated over.

We get through most of the first episode before he speaks again.

“Is this weird?”

I know he’s talking about us. Being here. The space between us. So many things are rolled into that one question that I hesitate on how to answer at first.

“Oh yeah.” Might as well agree. “I think we’ve well and truly passed that line.”

“At least it’s not just me.”

“Why do you think it’s so weird? We spent most of our lives together, but for some reason the last few years are the ones that seem to count.”

He frowns. “I don’t think that’s it.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I think they only count, because the ones before them counted more. Maybe. Does that even make sense?”

“I think so.”

“Like …” He tugs at his hoodie sleeve, looking unsure. “Even though this feels weird, I’m still glad I’m here.”

That smooth motherfucker. This is a serious conversation. I shouldn’t be smiling. I shouldn’t. “Me too.”

“Which makes it weirder.” He lets out a frustrated sound. “Shouldn’t I be making excuses to bail, instead of wishing things could go back to how they were?”

Every word he’s saying lightens some of that pressure on my heart. Maybe we’re not doomed. Maybe our friendship really can be given a jumpstart.

“I wonder if your need to be here is the same as mine.”

He looks up at me, pinning me with those dark eyes that I can’t stop dreaming about. “Which is?”

“I missed you.”

FF Teaser 2

About The Author

saxon james logo

Saxon James is an author from Aus who’s obsessed with writing queer characters.

She has a range of books from YA to adult and they all have one thing in common: swoony, sweet love.

When not writing, Saxon exists on a diet of coffee and chocolate while putting her KU subscription to the test.

Social Media

Facebook Group: www.facebook.com/groups/saxonssweethearts/

Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/thesaxonjames/

Newsletter: www.subscribepage.com/saxonjames

Amazon: www.amazon.com/Saxon-James/e/B082TP7BR7

Bookbub: www.bookbub.com/profile/saxon-james

Instagram: www.instagram.com/saxonjameswrites/

Website: https://saxonjamesauthor.com

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Giveaway

To celebrate the Release of Friendly Fire, Saxon is giving away a $20 Amazon Voucher

A Rafflecopter Giveaway

FF Teaser 4

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