Hello, my lovelies!
I hope you are all enjoying your Sunday.
If you are unsure about what to read next, I highly recommend “Ahead Of The Darkness” by Simone Nicole – there is a snarky heroine and a very sexy Scotsman in this book, plenty of drama and a bit of mystery as well.
Besides my review, you will find an excerpt from one of my favourite scenes in the book, a few teasers and a great giveaway open to all.
Title: “Ahead Of The Darkness” (The Darkness #1)
Author: Simone Nicole
Genre: Contemporary Adult Romance
Release Date: 13th March, 2014
Blog Tour Host: Forever Me Romance
It has been a long, long time since I’ve seen your little face, chérie. Not once did you visit. That really hurt; after all, it was thanks to you I was convicted. That’s not something you forget.
I thought it was time— a visit was due. Seeing as you wouldn’t come to me, I thought it only right I come to you. Sadly, you weren’t home, but your furry feline was more than accommodating . . .
I’ll be seeing you soon, mon chérie. I’ll always find you . . .
For six years, a letter has dictated Amelia’s future. She’s running from a past that refuses to stop, always trying to get one step ahead. Amelia is clever and resilient, and refuses to slip up.
Relying only on herself, she’ll be anything and anyone she needs to survive. But everyone slips up . . . eventually. You can’t always stay ahead of the darkness.
Complimentary copy given by the author in exchange for an honest review
I have to say that this book really took my breath away on more than one occasion. There is a lot of mystery, drama, laugh-out-loud moments and, of course, a wonderful romance. But before I really start my review, I have to warn the “cliffhanger haters”: yes, there is one…I must have said this a hundred times: I do not mind cliffhangers! But I know that many readers do, though, so I thought it best to tell you.
Right, now that that is settled: here is my review. The story is told solely from Amelia’s (MIA) point of view. You know from the beginning that she has plenty of secrets and that she is doing her best to not show her true self to anyone. She never stays in one place for long, and she constantly changes her appearance. Sounds intriguing, eh?
This time, Mia finds herself in a small, English town and renting a room at an older woman, Anne’s place. She sets out to get acquainted with the town gym where she meets this VERY gorgeous, yet incredibly annoying Scotsman – and oh, how I laughed! You know how I hate giving you any spoilers, but let me just say that this particular first meeting? It must be one of best I have ever read!
Now, later that evening, Mia wants to have a bit of fun and she finds the town’s best club called “Cascade”. And who do you think she meets? Right, the very same Scot who she had the (mis)fortune to meet earlier. Drew is his name and he happens to be the owner of the club.
The synopsis of the book makes you think that it is a romantic suspense, and I would agree with that sentiment to a certain extent. However, I am more of the opinion that the main story centres on how Mia and Drew slowly get to know each other, letting you really get to experience their budding romance from first row. I love the fact that Miss Nicole does not make these character fall head-first in love with each other – I am not a fan of “insta-love” in the books I read because it does not feel realistic to me – and seeing how Mia slowly lets down her walls was a real joy to me.
I had absolutely no issues with Mia: I think that she is a very likeable character. She is strong, feisty, and clever. She has had to overcome a great deal in her young life, and I certainly do not begrudge her for choosing to run whenever she is threatened.
As for Drew…well, who can resist a hot, successful, funny Scotsman? I, for one, have never been able to, and I feel the same way about this one. Drew has many traits that I admire: cheeky – in a loveable way, of course – caring, and confident. I enjoyed how well he handled Mia in many situations, and his non-judgmental observations about her sometimes rather peculiar behaviour makes him a perfect book boyfriend. (Though I admit that his patience is very remarkable!)
I cannot write this review without mentioning the absolutely delightful banter Mia and Drew share. Honestly, it is amazing! They just…well, click. They fit together like pieces to a puzzle. There is no other way I can describe it without spoiling the book for you, and you already know that I hate doing that. Just read it and find out for yourself…
The only reason I am not giving the book a higher rating is, strangely enough, because of Drew: although he IS a wonderful character, I just feel that we do not get that much information about his past – apart from two very important facts – and that makes him just a bit too mysterious to me. I am not saying that I want his entire life story in the first installment of the series, not at all! But a bit more would have been more satisfactory, at least to me, and I hope we get to know him better in the future.
The way Miss Nicole writes truly grabbed me right from the beginning. I love her descriptions of what she wants her readers to see in certain scenes – too many authors no longer do this, to my everlasting regret – and her characters, including the secondary ones, are believable: they are all flawed, but that is what makes them seem so real! And you know how highly I value this in my books. I would also like to add that the pacing of the story is perfect: not too slow, not too fast. Just: perfect.
There you have it: my honest review of a wonderful romance with a touch of mystery to go along with it. The epilogue has left me with quite a book hangover, and I am anxiously – and impatiently, I might add – awaiting the next book in the series.
Enjoy the excerpt, everyone!
“Take a deep breath,” he moved on without comment, “duck ye head under the water, and exhale through ye nose. When ye run outta air, pop ye head back up.” I bit my lip and nodded, but I was less than confident.
“But, what if, what if the water goes up my nose?” I whispered. I sounded like a small child, but I was too panicked to care.
“Hold ye nose, love. Like this.” He pinched his nose and dropped under. It was silly, but I gasped. A second later he reappeared, shaking his head like a dog, spraying water all over me. I smiled as I tried to hide from the spray. He seemed to know just how to diffuse me. It was bizarre, to say the least, but I was a little grateful.
“Yer turn. Do you need me to hold ye hand?” And sweet Drew was gone. He was back to his usual self.
I scoffed at that offer. “No.” But it might have been nice.
“One. Two.” I pinched my nose, and my pulse beat a million miles per minute. “Three!”
And I was under.
Oh God, oh God, breathe, no, don’t breathe, just … don’t breathe.
So I counted. I counted to ten and that was enough. I broke the surface, and gasped for breathe.
“Ye did good. Just next time, breathe first, aye?” Oh, yeah.
“Yeah, okay. Now what?”
“Now ye try holding yer breath for longer.”
“Aye. The fun comes later.”
I raised an eyebrow. The boys had clearly started to rub off on me. He smirked in return.
“How long can you hold your breath?”
“A while. Why? Ye want to challenge me?”
Do I? “Always.”
He smiled, and shook his head.
“One. Don’t forget to take a deep breath in. Three!” I sucked a huge breath in and we ducked under the cool water.
I watched a little in awe as tiny bibles left Drew’s nose. His hair sort of hovered in the water. He looked so beautiful that I found it easier to be still under the water just staring at him. He wiggled his eyebrows at me and it took all my strength not to laugh, expelling all my air. I did, however, poke my tongue out at him. It wasn’t the smartest thing to do, as when I pulled it back in it, tasted like manky seawater, and I wrinkled my face up in disgust. Surprisingly, I still managed to hold the little breath I had left in. Drew, however, lost all control at my tongue poking or face pulling, I wasn’t sure which, most likely both. He laughed heartily, expelling all his air in a great, big, gust, and had to go back up for air. I broke the surface to hear Drew coughing and spluttering.
“Ha! I won.” I’d be lying if it didn’t give me a little satisfaction that I sort-of won, by default but a win all the same.
“Ye’re a pisser. And ye didn’t win, ye cheated.”
“Oh, and you weren’t trying to cheat by wiggling your eyebrows at me? All’s fair in love and war, baby!”
“Which are we?” he asked softly, and my heart stuttered.
“Ah … definitely war.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Here is the giveaway!