Monday, August 25, 2014

✰Blog Tour & Giveaway: "Homecoming" by Jackie Sexton✰

(Love Michaelson, Book 1)
by Jackie Sexton
Genre: New Adult Romance
What he wouldn’t give to know her. To tell her that her art saves him everyday. 
Ariane Michaelson is always the quiet girl in the room, the one that her kooky mother and three sisters lovingly call the wallflower. After graduating from college she finds it more than a little difficult to find the graphic design job of her dream...or any job, really. She’s more than given up on painting, and a terrible run-in with her twin sister’s fiancé makes each day harder to keep a life altering secret. 
Liam Ashdown was just the moody small town nobody, with one friend and a busted pickup—until he moved to LA. Spotted by famous actor and producer Michael Jennings during a late night shift at the bar, Liam is transformed seemingly overnight into Tinsel Town’s hottest bad boy. The life Liam once knew is turned upside down with models and mayhem...and there isn’t much down time in-between. 
The only thing that keeps him sane is the paintings. Beautiful ocean portraits that remind him of home, painted years ago by some friend of a friend. 
What he wouldn’t give to know her. To tell her that her art saves him everyday. 
The engagement of his childhood friend, Todd, brings him back home to Craryville, to deal with a drug-addicted mother and an ailing grandmother. But it also brings him hope—somewhere in the bridal party is the woman who has been his calm and respite in the storm of fame. 
The only question is, can she save him?
“Woohoo!” Bryan called out as the tire swing twisted upwards and turned down, nearly toppling Ariane over. Liam had to hold a hand to his mouth to keep from laughing. Liam had come outside to tell Bryan that the food was ready, but was stopped in his tracks by the sight of the pair of them playing on the tire swing. Ariane looked slightly pained and out of breath as she pushed the tire upwards, but she was smiling, clearly enjoying the moment. Her hair was caught in the wind, whipping around her face and getting stuck in the corners of her pretty mouth. It was several minutes before she caught Liam’s eye, and she was completely caught off-guard. The tire landed in her gut, and she took a few disoriented steps back as she doubled over in pain, before tripping and falling on the tree root and landing on her arm. “Are you all right?” Liam called as a protective instinct ignited inside him. He ran over and knelt down next to her. “Oh...yeah,” she looked up at him, her eyes still round, surprised saucers. “I’m fine. Just a little bump, that’s all.” She held up her arm to inspect it, and Liam frowned at the gash that formed along it, blood trickling down to her elbow. “Whoa, did you see that! I jumped off the swing!” Bryan called, running up to the pair of them. But Liam couldn’t tear his eyes away from Ariane. He could see the weak falter in her smile—she was obviously trying to cover up her pain. “Bryan, can you go inside and ask Ms. Michaelson for an ice pack and a bandage, please?” “Oh...okay,” Bryan said, inspecting Ariane’s arm before running inside. “I’m fine, really,” Ariane insisted, her eyes falling down to her feet as her long hair streamed in front of her face. Liam couldn’t believe her though, not as she winced and the blood flowed freely down her arm. He took his shirt off without thinking, pulling it over his head in one quick motion and then tightly fastening it around her arm. “Just keep the pressure on it for a while, okay?” he said as he tightened a knot at her wrist. “Um...thanks,” she murmured, avoiding eye contact with him. He still had a hand on her forearm, and it took all he had in him to keep from touching more of her, from finding the heat of her pulse and pulling it through his own body. She was so warm, even with all the space between them—she radiated like a small, beautiful sun. “I’m um, totally okay.” She winced again as she said it, and Liam could almost feel the pain himself. He wanted to check her stomach for any premature bruising, but his heart skipped a beat when he realized she was wearing a dress. He couldn’t help but imagine what her bare legs looked like, how smooth the skin on her hips must feel... Get a grip, he scolded himself, shaking off the lewd thoughts. “Well, just look out for bruises and if it keeps hurting, you should go see a doctor.” Liam himself had suffered enough injuries from trying his own stunts to know better than to take a hit to the gut for granted. She finally looked up at him, taking away his breath with those large, cat-like eyes. She was seeing through him, he was sure. Seeing all of the faults and secrets he carried inside of him. His blood quickened through his veins, and he had to take a slow steadying breath to keep himself from kissing her. She was just so gorgeous, and her lips were so heavy and sensual, that he wasn’t sure how he was managing to hold back.

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Guest Post
When Wallflowers Strike Back
By Jackie Sexton
In celebration of this tour I wanted to write a tribute to my heroine from Homecoming, Ariane. Ariane is based off of one of my very good friends who is a bit shy, one-hundred percent lovely, and always getting overlooked. But the one thing I can say about the quiet, agreeable people in my life is that they don’t always stay that way. Once they’re pushed to the edge, a side of them I’ve never seen before emerges, and it’s strangely exhilarating. It’s like watching an injured bird spread its wings and take off.

It’s hard being the wallflower, being the person who always says yes. I admit I’m a pretty social person so I haven’t had too much experience with this, except for when I visit extended family. For some reason I just want to disappear into the furniture, and I just smile and nod and don’t want to upset anyone’s expectations of me. I feel trapped and uncomfortable when someone says something I don’t agree with, because I can’t express how I feel. 
While writing Homecoming, I wanted to find a way to capture the moment when a wallflower breaks free and speaks her mind. I imagine it feels like finally doing something you never thought you could do, like riding a bike or taking a plane to a foreign country. Exciting, liberating, but scary. Even though it might take terrible circumstances to finally make that timid person let it all out, that moment of catharsis is important and special. 
Sometimes the bad makes us good. As they say, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. 

What I truly believe is that we all have a little wallflower in us, holding us back, telling us we can’t be who we want or need to be. What I say to anyone reading this is, “fight back.” It might be scary and ugly, but it’s worth taking a risk for something beautiful: freedom
So the next time you feel the pressure to disappear, take a stance. I’ll do it to. And let’s also find the wallflowers in our lives, our family, friends, and co-workers, and try to send some empowerment their way. 

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She is an avid reader and writer of steamy, paranormal romance. She loves dreaming up new worlds about brave (and slightly neurotic) heroines, and hunky, lovable heroes. She also loves dark chocolate and Chihuahua pups like nobody’s business!


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