Book Reviews

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Blog Tour + Review - Hell and Back by Natasha Madison




Releasing October 31, 2016

Blurb:

Meeting him was a fluke. Dating him was a mistake. Watching him become a drug addict put me through hell. Running was my only option.

***

I'm running from my demons and when I find out she's trying to escape her past, I know what I have to do.

One broken cop. One woman fighting for her life. A fragile love.

Sinister secrets that threaten to tear them apart.

They've been to hell. The hard part will be finding their way back together.




Buy Links




Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2dF6Bfm

Excerpt

I pull up in my driveway looking over at the house. What I see pisses me off.

Here she is in a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, hat and glasses pushing a brand new lawn mower.

I make sure I check my temper before I walk over. Right before I cross the street the little girl on the front porch stops me mid step.

She looks like just like her mother, just a smaller version. She is sitting on a plastic little table, that they probably just bought, coloring.

I make my way over to her right when the lawn mower goes off “I told you I would cut the grass.” I try to sound casual, but the blood in me is boiling, it must be ninety-five degrees outside, and she’s wearing enough clothes for a trek across the frozen tundra.

She looks up “I also said I got it, and I would be doing it myself.” The little girl from the porch makes it to her mother and hides behind her, yanking on her pant leg.

The fearful look that she gives me is just like her mother’s. I crouch down, getting eye-to- eye with her and say “Hey there, beautiful. What’s your name?” She doesn’t reply, and instead she lowers her gaze so she is looking at her feet. “I’m Jackson,” I reach out my hand, but drop it when I know she won’t take it. I gesture behind me, as I say “I live in that house right over there. I used to know your great grandma.” I’m trying to draw her into a conversation with me, but nothing I say engages her.

“It’s ok baby, you can tell him your name. Nan used to make him cookies, so you know what that means, she must have really liked him.” She rubs her daughters shoulder.

“I’m Lilah,” she says in barely a whisper.

“That is the most beautiful name in the whole wide world. You’re lucky to have such a beautiful name.”

She smiles at me, right as a car back fires. She yells and puts her hands to her ears.

Two things happen at the same time, her mother grabs her and runs toward the house, and I vow to protect them.

“Wait,” I rush after them and make it right to the door before it’s closed in my face. I stand there inside the house and watch them rushing to the corner and hide.

Two broken girls protecting each other against some monster of the outside world. I walk up to them “It’s ok, it’s just a car, it was nothing but a car.”

“Lilah, baby it’s ok, it’s ok. I’m here. It’s ok baby girl, were safe.” She is trying to comfort the little girl who is sobbing quietly in her mother arms. “No one is here baby.”

She looks over at me, our eyes meeting for one minute before she lowers them again.

“Look it’s ok, it’s just Jackson. There is no one here, baby.” She rocks Lilah back and forth. Her back against the wall while she soothes her baby girl whose sobs are slowly stopping, her eyes closing.

“What can I do?” I’m now sitting in front of her not sure how to even start to dissect this.

“Nothing, you can’t do anything for us,” she kisses Lilah’s head. “No one can.”

I ignore that last part not sure how to talk about this now.

“I’m going to go outside and finish cutting the grass, then I’m going to go pick up some food for us. Does she like pizza?”

“Jackson, I don’t know what relationship you had with my grandmother, but I don’t need your help. We will be fine. Please, it’s ok, you can leave.” She rests her head on the the wall closing her eyes, the defeat of the day leaving her body.

“I’m going to go outside and finish mowing the lawn so Lilah doesn’t have to go outside anymore today.

Then I’m going to pick up pizza for myself. You won’t have time to cook, so I’m going to pick one up for you. I want to eat with you guys, but I’m not pushing myself on you either after today. Now I don’t want to fight with you or even discuss this, so just nod that you understand?”

She looks into my eyes, but nods yes.

“I can pay you for the pizza? I have money. I don’t need a hand out,” she says while trying to push herself up to go get fucking money.

If she weren’t so scared of things I would punch the fuck out of something right now. 

“I don’t want your money, now or ever. I have no doubt you can take care of yourself. Consider this a housewarming present.” I get up going to the door not even giving her a chance to say anything else.

“She’s never had pizza before, so can you just get us plain cheese.”

I don’t say anything afraid of what will come out of my mouth. I nod and walk out the door, closing it quietly so as not to wake Lilah.

I close my eyes exhaling the breath that I didn’t even realize I was holding.

“She’s barely holding on while fighting for her life. She has demons, they both do. Whatever happened to them, it’s in there deep. The both of them are so scared, you can practically see the fear coming off of them.” I look over at Brenda who is on her porch watering her plants. “Tread lightly, Jackson, or better yet walk away if you aren’t going to do anything about it.”

I don’t have a chance to respond she walks into her house closing her front door softly, leaving me fighting my own demons.

description


**ARC provided by author in exchange for an honest review**



"I can't lose you, Bella. You own me. My heart, my body, my soul. Everything is yours."

Hell and Back is about Bella and her three year old daughter who escaped from a very dangerous and abusive relationship. She eventually ends up at her grandmother's house, who has passed away, that was left to her. Her next door neighbor Jackson is a detective for the special victims unit and sees right away that his neighbors are broken. As an alpha male who is in the business of saving people, he can't resist to help them out. Bella is very guarded and has mixed feelings about his sudden interest in her. She tries to keep him out of her life. But he slowly gains ground and eventually wins both Bella and Lilah's heart. 

I really enjoyed this book. It was a solid story with very interesting characters. I especially LOVED Brenda, who is another neighbor, who became such a great support and friend to Bella. She was a fairy godmother who does whatever she likes, and boy does she loves to spoil little Lilah. Bella was a very strong woman, who finally breaks free from the abuse she endures. She had a backbone! She stood up to Jackson and told him to stay away from her. She didn't trust him at first. She wanted to do things on her own, and I respect that a lot. I loved that their relationship grew at a slow pace, they really took their time to know each other before taking the next step. Jackson is obvious someone who wants to save people but had a bit of boundary problem. He sometimes came on too strong, especially in the beginning. He also had a bit of an anger problem (e.g. punching walls). 

This is a great story with a couple of twists I didn't see coming. I also loved that we got see a bit of the case that Jackson was working on. It added another layer and made it a better story. The writing was very easy to read, and had a great flow to it. The flow of the story was steady and very pleasant to read. Also I didn't have a feeling that anything was rushed, especially towards the end. Everything fit great together. I am looking forward to reading Natasha's next book that will focus on two secondary characters we met in this book.





About Natasha Madison:

When her nose isn't buried in a book, or her fingers flying across a keyboard writing, she's in the kitchen creating gourmet meals. You can find her, in four inch heels no less, in the car chauffeuring kids, or possibly with her husband scheduling his business trips. It's a good thing her characters do what she says, because even her Labrador doesn't listen to her...

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