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TBB EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT – FALLING NORTH by ALYSON SANTOS

I lie awake in my bunk for most of the night. Xander and I have avoided each other since the show. It’s as if we accidently saw each other naked. I sense I’ve lost his trust even though I’m not sure I ever had it. Or maybe I’m the one acting weird, and he’s only reacting to that. He doesn’t know what I did, what I have in my possession.

I pull out my phone and stare at the photo. Like a certified stalker, I sent it to my personal device as soon as I could. I needed it with me, to be able to pull it out and lose myself in it during moments like this. I zoom in on his face, staring into hazel eyes that shine with an internal luminescence I’ve never seen. His typically clenched jaw has softened to make room for a radiant smile. I trace his features on the phone before closing my eyes and imagining my fingers on his skin. He’s looking at me like this. I’m the one who frees him to reckless abandon.

But quickly, my imaginary fingers aren’t content. Gluttonous bastards. They start to move, and my blood pumps with the contagious rhythm of samba. My touch slides over the grooves in his arms, across his chest, down abs I’ve seen too many times to ignore. They slip into dark jeans, and I clench my eyes shut, shuddering from temptation.

You’re not really going to do this when he’s a few feet away. When you’re surrounded by his friends and family!

No, of course not. My heart hammers against my ribs; my real fingers tighten into a fist. Of course not. He’s a client. He’s… right there. In my head. In my reality. I turn my gaze to the curtain, my rebellious fingers already clutching the edge.

You can’t actually look.

I do. Just a fraction. Enough to see that his curtain isn’t closed firmly either. My breaths come faster at the discovery. I see flashes of messy dark hair, which triggers memories of it damp with sweat on stage or tangled in his fingers in a conference room. There were the strands I wanted to smooth at a bar and in a stylist’s studio. The ones that hang in his face while he’s writing, his hands too occupied with a guitar and laptop to bother with wayward locks. I would just reach over, so casually, and he would smile back with the ease of an exchange that’s happened so many times. It comes naturally to us, like everything else since the moment we met.

You graduated summa cum laude and now you want to be the doting girlfriend who tucks back her boyfriend’s hair while he’s working? I grunt and snap the curtain closed.

 

Our Review

“Do you know how hard it is to watch someone take a punch for you? To go hungry so you can eat? To shiver so you can have the one blanket? I’ve spent my entire life watching him suffer to protect me, and I …I can’t do it now. Not again. Not for her.”

Falling North by Alyson Santos was an emotional and raw story of two brothers who have grown up under horrific circumstances only to find their escape in music. Starting a band and trying to break through is their sole purpose in life and only path. Music is both therapy and the escape they need. Alyson Santos writes with such conviction and an effortless hand when it comes to the tortured rock star. Her rock stars are compelling as they truly come alive in the pages.

‘…it’s not just an urge to hug him I’m fighting. No, I want to completely break him open and consume him until his mind, body, and soul are mine. I want every single breath that forms him, so when his gaze suddenly lifts and finds me hovering, my pounding heart detonates in my chest.’

Xander is our leading man but he comes as a package with his brother Matty, who is the one person that Xander fiercely loves and protects. As it has been their entire lives; first whilst growing up in Brazil then when moving to the US. Whilst Matty is the lead singer, Xander is the true leader of their band; the drummer and songwriter. Expelling his inner demons through song lyrics. He’s an artist, a poet, a master wordsmith and a musical genius. He’s also broken from the heavy burden of their shared past, the mental health of his brother and being the sole provider. The only love he knows is what he feels for Matty and whilst he’s loved in return, more than he truly realises, he craves the love of a good woman. Especially the woman who leaves a deep impression in a fleeting moment yet becomes a huge part of his life. Xander stole our hearts and our tears. His story was intense and so incredibly emotional we felt his pain and frustration. We fell in love with him and his words.

‘I’ve spent my entire life holding up a fractured universe. Protecting those who deserved it and those who didn’t. Playing the martyr with no hope of ever finding peace, ever having the freedom to take a clean breath…I’ve been falling north for twenty-seven years. I don’t even know which way is up.’

Lydia is out to prove herself, her tenacity, her skills and her knowledge as a musical marketing guru. Despite her family connections Lydia works to achieve her goal in life through her own hard work, relying on no one. She’s a formidable character, a strong woman who works hard and is comfortable in her own skin with the knowledge that you have to work for what you want and go for what makes you happy. Whilst not one to rake risks she doesn’t let the chance of happiness, love and success slip between her fingers. Especially not when she’s hired to promote the profile of the newly signed Falling Back North.

“The music exists in another place. You can go there any time, under any circumstances. Your eyes can be swollen shut, your stomach empty. It doesn’t matter. You can drown out even the loudest screams, external and internal. And when you get to go to that place with the only other person who matters to you…you create a bond strong enough for others to feel it too.”

This is the second book in this series of standalones and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Alyson Santos writes a great tortured rock star romance which fills you with every emotion she successfully conveys through her words. We do wish it had delved a tad deeper into the past so we could have experienced it first hand in order to truly feel that hopeless desperation of Xander and Matty, Also we wish we’d had more interaction with the other band mates in order to form that full connection. However, the music element was spot on and we felt that incredible rush of anticipation and hunger when the band took to the stage. It’s a rush and so spine-tingling good!

“Accept your story and recognise the beauty that came out of the pain. Fucking embrace it. Be proud of the shithole that made you so no one can hurt you with it again.”

Synopsis

Turner Artist Management Urgent Action Item:

✔ Save Falling Back North from implosion.

When your agency’s newest artist shows signs of collapse, you jump on the problem. When it involves a potential rift between the brothers who form the band’s soul, you throw your Hail Mary.

So I did—by hiring a respected marketing goddess to save them. But when demons run deep and the stakes are extreme, it might prove too much for the band’s drummer and leader who’s been carrying them all since childhood. Enormous pressure compounded by impending heartbreak, what’s an agency to do?

See, I’m just the manager. The story that follows actually belongs to my client Xander Silva and the innocent marketing siren about to blow him to shreds.

Because now that both brothers have their hearts set on the same woman, everyone’s desperate to know:

Who is LYDIA CARMICHAEL??

Falling North is a standalone Turner Artist Rocker Novel

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