5 out of 5 stars for A.L. Jackson’s COME TO ME QUIETLY.
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.
COME TO ME QUIETLY is a relentlessly emotional book. Every page packed a punch to the gut that made my heart stutter in either heartbreak or exhilaration. It’s an absolutely heart-rending story of a man trying to run away from the demons of his past but never really leaving any of them behind.
Jared Holt destroyed me. Of course, there's something about him that drew me in. From the first time we see Jared, it was evident how much pain he bears. That whole bad boy thing? It’s unbelievable sexy on Jared. Tattooed and tortured, Jared has dangerous written all over him. During most of the book, we see Jared struggling with a past that is still unknown to us. It leaves us with the question of what dire event could have happened to Jared to make him the way he is at the start of the book.
A.L. Jackson writes Jared’s story with so much pain and anger it’s practically rippling off the page. He blames himself for everything that has happened to him. His isolation, his unwillingness to open up to anybody has become his self-inflicted punishment to atone for his sins. But in Jared’s mind, there is no atonement, no reprieve waiting for him. He believes he is broken beyond repair so it was a surprise to him when he found himself back in the place where everything ended.
Aleena “Aly” Moore is like any other twenty-year old college student. It’s summer break and Aleena is busy with pool parties with her friend, Megan, hanging out with her maybe-boyfriend Gabe, and her job at a local restaurant. But there’s something not quite right in Aly’s world. No matter how hard she tries to open up to Gabe, she can’t seem to let go of a face that has haunted her dreams, both awake and asleep, ever since that fateful night six years ago. So, imagine her surprise when she finds that same face sleeping on her couch in the apartment she shares with her older brother, Christopher.
Jared and Christopher have been bestfriends and brothers since they were children. Jared can recall vividly how Aly followed them around on their many adventures. He can’t quite reconcile the image of that little girl from his memory with the beautiful woman who roused him from his sleep that first night in Christopher’s apartment.
Now, with Jared back in town, Aly faces circumstances that threaten to unravel her world. We see how affected Aly is with Jared’s reappearance. It’s no secret how much she cares for him. After all, we all had that one childhood crush we can’t ever forget. But the thing is, Aly’s feelings for Jared run deeper than anyone could’ve possibly thought. It was kind of excruciating to see how Jared kept on denying what was building between him and Aly. There was this constant push-and-pull between the two of them. With Jared’s inability to let go of his past (and I can now understand why) and Aly’s constant, albeit silent, hope for a chance with that beautiful man she has loved all her life… well, it was just a train-wreck waiting to happen.
I dreaded the point when the shit would hit the fan. I was reluctant to turn the page, afraid of what would come next. But turn the page I did. Throughout a large portion of the book, there was only this constant sexual tension between Aly and Jared. There was so much build up between the two of them and it took so freaking long to get to that point. When shit hit the fan, though, I thought it was sort of anti-climactic. Well, I was wrong on that point because it didn’t end with Jared leaving. I mean, I kind of expected that part already.
A.L. Jackson threw a curve ball at me with Aly’s big revelation. Both of them. One pushed Jared away and the other brought him back. As damaged and broken as Jared is, I found the hope that with Aly, there may be something else in store for Jared aside from pain and destruction.
Aly is Jared’s saving grace and their redemption is what I’m looking forward to in COME TO ME SOFTLY, the continuation of Jared and Aly’s story. At the end of COME TO ME QUIETLY, Jared is no less fractured or tortured but A.L. Jackson hints at the beginning of a new life for Jared.
I loved COME TO ME QUIETLY. I see no fault in A.L. Jackson’s writing. The story is written so beautifully, and so painfully, if I might add. There’s a beguiling quality to her prose that lent a deeper emotional quality to the book. She was able render Jared’s pain, anger, and guilt so poignantly across Aly’s hope, goodness, and belief in Jared. Those two were a study in contrast but A.L. Jackson flawlessly threaded the lives of these two characters so irrevocably that I find it difficult to imagine one without the other.
So, to all NA bookworms out there, A.L. Jackson’s CLOSER TO YOU series is something that you cannot afford to miss out on!