Author: AL Jackson
Series: Closer to You #1
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Barnes & Noble
From the acclaimed bestselling author of Lost to You and When We Collide comes a new adult novel of one woman’s obsession: a man who’s as passionate as he is elusive—and as tempting as he is trouble…
Aleena Moore is content with her life. She has goals and dreams and an easy smile. She also has a secret she holds locked inside.
Jared Holt believes he doesn’t deserve to love or be loved. He destroys everything he touches. Haunted by the mistake that shattered his life, he’s fled from the memory of that pain.
Jared doesn’t know why he’s compelled to return, but finds himself drawn back to the place where it all began. The exact place where it ended. When he runs into his childhood best friend, Aleena’s older brother Christopher, he agrees to share Christopher and Aleena’s apartment while he looks for a place of his own.
Aleena is no longer the little girl Jared remembers from his past and evokes feelings in him he never wanted to feel again. Terrified of destroying her, he fights to keep her away. But her touch is something he can’t resist—the touch that sealed his fate.
Their pasts are intertwined and their futures uncertain. The only truths they know are the secrets they whisper in the night.
Aly took my hand again. “Come on, let’s find a good spot to watch the fireworks.”
With her voice, I shoved off the images, turned and gently smiled at her, ignoring the guy whose gaze burned into the back of my head with outright hate.
Instead I focused on her words that sounded so damned cute, like they used to when we’d run ahead of ourselves to find the best spot at the park. We used to get so close that we’d feel the fireworks rumble through our bodies, and we had to dodge the little pieces of paper ashes that flitted down from the sky.
She led me to a lounger that sat out in the open on the grass. She pushed at my side and grinned. “Take a seat.”
Quirking a brow, I smirked at her, but did as I was told. I sat sideways on it with my feet on the ground. Aly settled to the grass, and instinctively my knees parted to make room for her. Nestling between my legs, she shifted a bit to rest her head on the inside of my thigh. Then she released a breathy sigh as if this was the only place she wanted to be, murmuring, “I’m so glad you’re here, Jared.”
Desire coursed over every inch of my skin and pooled in my stomach. There was nothing I could do to stop it, the way I hardened at her slightest touch, at the soft sound that fell from her mouth, at the smell of her hair that had become permanently ingrained in my mind.
Night fell further, collected across the sky, and the darkness deepened the silence of the cocoon Aly and I found ourselves in. The heat had ebbed the slightest bit, the warmth of the day beginning to dissipate into the inky dome overhead.
Most in the yard had quieted and taken their spots to watch the sky, anticipating the show that was about to begin. Everyone else bled into obscurity, and in that instant, it was just the two of us.
Aly jumped with the first boom. It rumbled along the surface of the ground, vibrating below us, and a long whistle cracked before color exploded in the sky just in the distance.
Quietly she gasped, the way she’d done what seemed like a million times before. A perfect memory of her as a child suddenly overtook my mind. The tips of her delicate fingers fluttered up to her mouth as she watched in awe.
I was powerless to do anything but thread my fingers through her hair, to anchor myself to her, even if it was only for this moment. Even though I’d been the one to cut myself from her, right then it felt impossible to let go.
Reds and blues and whites streamed from the sky, lit up the darkness above, increased in intensity, then fell before the next wave erupted in an electrifying thrill.
Blood thundered through my veins. It’d been so long since I’d felt this close to someone. Part of me fought it, knew I should push her away. The dominate part of me just wanted to stay, even if it was for a little while. I’d been alone for so long. Was it wrong to take away these memories, something to hold onto when I seeped back into nothingness?
Shifting her weight, Aly sank deeper into me. Her body burned into mine, her head pressed into my thigh. She tilted her head back and looked up at me with wistful eyes, watched me with kindness, with a yearning for the way things had been in the past, with ideas of what could never be.
I stared down at her.
And I knew it was wrong, that I was only making things worse, prolonging the inevitable, but right then I just didn’t care.
A pensive smile kissed her mouth, before she turned back to the show above. She snuggled closer, her shoulder dipping down under my leg so her neck was nestled against my thigh. Her hand skimmed over my knee and down my leg before she firmly wrapped her arm around my calf. Her hand tightened there, and my fingers found their way to the nape of her neck, twisting in the fine hairs and tickling her skin. A small whimper escaped her mouth as I massaged my fingers over the base of her scalp, ran them up to the back of her ears and down again.
As if this wasn’t agonizing, having what I wanted most in my hands and knowing she was completely out of reach.
But right then she was mine. So I gave in, took a little more, leaned forward and buried my nose in the fucking delicious coconut in her hair. Breathed in the life and the goodness and everything that was Aly.
I wanted to remember.
Her fingers curled into my leg, begging just as desperately as my body begged for hers, and I felt strung up, strung out. I ached and needed and felt as if I was going to lose my mind.
Fireworks filled the sky, this constant barrage that illuminated the night. I felt them more than saw them as they knit with the shocking intensity radiating from Aly, a feeling that sped through my veins faster than any high I’d ever experienced. Overhead the finale came to life, pounded through my system, set my skin on fire.
I tightened my hold on her, my nose behind her ear, wanted to take it all.
How does one even begin to explain the pure, unadultured torture their heart has just endured? How do you describe a story SO intense, so emotionally devastating, that I literally feel like my heart has been ripped from my chest? Of an author so intellectually poised in describing the range of emotions that live inside her character’s heads that I literally feel like my soul has been sucker punched? I only THOUGHT I had felt pain before when reading. Rebecca Donovan’s Breathing series anyone? Does Molly McAdams EVERYTHING ring a bell?! I was thoroughly misguided in my belief that there were no other books that could bring me to the place of despair that those did. I am here to tell you that I was SORELY mistaken. The bar has been raised friends, and AL Jackson is sitting pretty upon her much deserved throne.
I had no idea where I’d end up because there was no place I belonged.
The amazing fact that I cannot seem to get past though, is she does all of this not so much based upon constant events that happen throughout the story, but more on the emotional state that her characters reside in. This was NOT an overly dramatic book. There was no heart pounding action, no suspense or intrigue, no cheating, no trivial immaturity. No, it was SO much more than that. Raw emotion. The kind that flows from your soul, that leaves you writhing on the floor struggling to breathe. The kind that after you’ve finished the story, you can simply do nothing more than stare blankly at the ceiling, wondering what in the HELL just happened. I am serious when I say that I’ve never before felt a book as I’ve felt this one. That’s not a statement I make lightly either, as I read A LOT. But it’s impossible to make a comparison when there are no others to make that comparison to. In a league of its own, Come to Me Quietly is guaranteed to open even the blackest of hearts.
A whisper of a smile curled my lips. He was real, no longer a veiled mystery that I’d hidden away in my heart. He lived. He breathed. And God, if he wasn’t the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen.
This is a story of pain. A pain so deeply embedded in every molecular structure comprising your body that you simply cannot fathom ever ridding yourself of it. A pain that you wear, splayed across your body as if it were a protective armor, when really it is just a well painted warning sign to others. A pain that allows nothing but hatred, self loathing, disgust, fear, and death to resided within its walls. But hidden behind all this, like a rare ray of sunshine on the darkest of days, this is the story of Aly and Jared. I could not love two characters more if I tried. They wore their emotions on their sleeves, apparent to anyone who dared to look past the carefully place façade they usually presented to the world. This isn’t a story of redemption, nor is it a story where a knight rides in on his white horse, ready to save the day. No, in this story, together and apart, Aly and Jared must learn to save themselves from each other. Light and darkness, these two inhabit the qualities equally, though never at the same time. Through it all, neither loses their will to fight. Fight with each other, fight internally, fight the rest of the world.
Sickness coiled in my stomach as I realized the significance of the statement he made.
This boy was painted in his pain.
Through circumstances that very slowly unfold themselves throughout the book, Jared is a product of blame and guilt. For all intents and purposes, his life ended six years ago. One observation that needs to be made though; often, when an author takes the entire book to explain the events that transpired to set this train in motion, the book can move along at a snail’s pace, full of repetition and endless drabbling. Refreshingly so, that was NOT the case for this book. Every word was beautifully woven so delicately that when you finally DID learn the events that began the downfall, it simply didn’t matter any longer. All too often, we want, no HAVE, to know the why. But what I realized after finishing this book was that the why simply DID NOT MATTER. It had happened. It was over. It couldn’t be changed. The only thing left to do was put the pieces back together. But one of many things that Jared taught me was that sometimes, the pieces can’t simply BE put back together; sometimes they are irreparably shattered. However, they CAN form something new; something greater than you ever imagined. Something you thought long ago was lost. If you let it, sometimes, love can save it all.
A fragmented sigh stuttered from my lips as they parted. Never had I felt anything better than what I found in Jared’s touch.
Aly has this unique ability to see behind every wall that Jared throws up; she always has. She sees behind his frightening, uncaring demeanor to the little boy who is just so lost. What started as a crush at a young age, through absence, has grown into love over the years. Through distance and time, Jared was always there. Though not physically, his presence was always in her heart. It preceded every decision she made, subconscious or not, and she always hoped that one day she would see her best friend again. This isn’t a hearts and flowers book though folks; I don’t want to misguide you. This is so much MORE than that. If there existed a word stronger than love, that is what I would need to describe the cataclysmic air between these two. With only words, thoughts, and feelings, rarely actions, A.L. Jackson brings you to your knees over and over again, yet you continue to come back for more. Because there simply can never be ENOUGH of Aly and Jared. You wallow in the depths of Hell alongside them, poking them with a stick to keep moving. Because though it may seem like they are moving backwards, as long as they keep moving, it will only eventually lead to each other. There just isn’t ANY other possible outcome that I could foresee. And then I was proven wrong…
Maybe her soul burned so bright she couldn’t see the blackness in mine.
For me, the above quote embodied the belief of the characters so completely. Twelve little words epitomize and embody the forces that drive the emotional roller-coaster that is Come to Me Quietly. Twelve small words speak volumes that my heart STILL cannot comprehend. I find myself coming back to this quote over and over again, and each time, it brings tears to my eyes. That Jared thought so little of himself. That Aly truly WAS his angel. That Jared believed there to be NO redemption for him. That Aly was an unattainable being that he would never deserve to have. With all of these reasons and more, I could go on about this quote for hours. I’ve tried to explain, but it is still difficult to put into words what it made me feel. There are just too MANY feelings coursing through my veins currently that I am surprised ANY cohesive thoughts have formed. This story was perfectly imperfect in every single way.
I was like this fucking disaster because I didn’t want anything to be free, but there was no freedom for the condemned.
And I hated.
Don’t let the fact that this is the first in a series deter you from starting. Though there is another book, if this was it, I would have been okay with that. The fact that it isn’t leaves me writhing in anticipation to see where A.L. takes us next. I may not be certain of many things, but of this I am; you MUST read this book. It was beautiful, devastating, soul shattering, honest, and raw. Pure raw emotion. It was a jolt to my system that woke me up from a long slumber. One I won’t soon forget. I believe in this book so strongly, that I am giving it my first ‘so nice I rated it twice’ award of the year. You may notice that even though I spoke a lot, I didn’t really give any details. That was on purpose my friend. I want you to do into this book and form your own opinions. Because it IS a journey. And the road to Hell is always paved with good intentions.
Songs that made me think of Aly and Jared
And don’t miss the daily blog tour giveaways on A.L. Jackson’s Facebook accounts! All kinds of fun stuff will be given away ~ ebooks, gift cards, and much more! Every day from January 7th – February 7th!