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Blog Hop….In Too Deep by Michelle Kemper Brownlow

The day he said, “I love you” should have been the day she said, “Goodbye.”

 

I am so happy to be a part of Michelle Kemper Brownlow’s Blog Hop for her debut novel, In Too Deep!

I read this book a little bit ago and you can find my FOUR LOVES review below and I have a great excerpt for you!

So, thanks for stopping by and enjoy!

InTooDeep amazon

Book links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes & Noble  ~  Goodreads

Synopsis:

Gracie has just finished her freshman year of college in Memphis when she takes a job at a local pizza joint in her home town of McKenzie, Tennessee. She is the epitome of innocence when she meets Noah. Noah is unabashedly handsome, intriguingly reckless and just cocky enough to be sexy. Gracie’s instincts tell her to stay far away from him and based on the stories she hears from her co-workers he leaves broken hearts in his wake. But still, she can’t explain her fascination with him.

Noah puts aside his bad boy ways when what he thought was a summer crush has him unexpectedly falling in love. But soon after Gracie transfers to UT Knoxville to be with Noah, their unexpected love becomes riddled with anger, deceit and humiliation.

Jake, Noah’s former roommate and Gracie’s best friend, can no longer be a bystander. Gracie’s world falls out from beneath her and when she breaks she turns to Jake for strength. As Jake talks her through a decision she’s not yet strong enough to make, together they uncover a truth so ugly neither of them is prepared for its fallout. Will Jake pull her to the surface or is Gracie Jordan finally In Too Deep?

Excerpt:

My phone buzzed.

Jake: Gracie?

I turned off my phone. The doorbell rang before I even had a chance to feel guilty for not answering. I threw the covers over my head and lay there, eyes wide open. It rang again.Can someone please get the door? I’m too busy feeling sorry for myself to get up.

Ding dong.

I groaned as I pulled myself from under the covers and flung my legs off the edge of my bed. The UPS man was going to get an eyeful because I didn’t even have the energy to pull my sleep pants on. The super huge t-shirt I wore to bed was longer than some skirts I had. I would just have to reach around the opened door, sign something on his little clipboard and throw the package on the hall table before jumping right back into bed. No one was home. I could have slept all day. Stupid delivery guy.

But when I rounded the corner into the foyer, I could see Noah through the side window to the right of the door. My heart slammed its next beat so hard I was sure someone standing in front of me would have seen my ribcage lunge forward.

“What do you want?” I said the words on my side of the window. He didn’t need to hear me, he had to be expecting something like that. He knew I wouldn’t be happy to see him. I was pissed that he was at my door. Flashes of my birthday night coursed through my mind one by one. I winced and squeezed my eyes closed hoping to wring the images from my head.

“Gracie, I know you don’t want to open the door, but I need you to listen to what I have to say.” He was talking louder than he needed to for me to hear him. I was instantly annoyed. I shuddered.

“So talk.” If I kept a locked door between us, I could walk away whenever I’d had enough.

“Can I please come in?”

“No.”

“Okay, I’ll talk through a window if that’s the only way you’ll listen.” He waited a couple seconds like he thought I’d have a change of heart and open the door. When he saw that was not in his cards, he started talking. I leaned my forehead against the cool glass and watched his lips form words that proved introspection, self-awareness and a level of thought so deep I could do nothing but hold my breath and wish he wasn’t doing this to me.

“Gracie. I haven’t had a solid example of how to show love or how to accept it. At least not the depth of love you are willing to give. I don’t know how to reciprocate that without feeling terrified. I never expected to fall so hard for you. I never thought I could love someone so hard it hurt. But I can. I do.

“Gracie. When you look at me and I know you can see all the way into my soul, my first instinct is self-preservation. I instinctively push you away so you won’t climb deeper into me. Your heart is so big, Gracie, it could swallow me whole, and that scares the shit out of me because I shouldn’t be worthy of that kind of love. I don’t deserve you. I guess in a twisted sort of way, I push you away to save you.”

The window steamed from the warm breath escaping between my lips. I remembered the conversation I had with my mom. She said only if it was of their own volition could someone truly make a change. I couldn’t believe what was happening in front of me. A huge part of me didn’t want it to be happening because Noah and I proved to be a disaster. I knew I couldn’t handle one more blow from him. My sanity was already climbing the walls. But, as if they had minds of their own, one hand turned the deadbolt and the other opened the door. Cool air across my thighs reminded me I was still only in a t-shirt. I motioned for Noah to follow me back to my room. I needed to put more clothes on so he didn’t ruin his heart-felt apology by making a move on me. He sat on my bed and I pulled sweats off the hook on the back of my door and slid myself inside them. I sat down next to him. He took my hands in his.

“I am head over heels in love with you, Gracie. I have been since the night you kissed me after the fireworks. I’ve always thought that shock between our lips was a sign that you were the one. I’m terrified of that. If I let myself truly feel the level of love I know we are capable of, then what happens if you leave me? I don’t know how to handle that kind of pain. I am sure I’ve never felt something that severe.”

“Noah, you just described what you have done to me, over and over and over. You have split my heart wide open so many times because, unlike you, I don’t know how to guard my heart. I opened it to you almost two years ago, and I’ve been giving you all I have ever since. I can’t turn it off, I don’t know how. So, when you pierce me with your hateful words, the pain is palpable. It takes me to my knees.” There was no holding back the tears. I didn’t even try to. I was done walking on eggshells. Again.

That’s when he did something I never thought I’d see. He fell into my lap and cried like a baby. I had taken all the pain he had inflicted on me and threw it straight to his heart before he had the chance to get that wall back up.

 

My Review:

I am beyond lucky to have received an advance copy of In Too Deep, the debut work from Michelle Brownlow. This was a story that pulled me in and didn’t let go….and I loved it!

Gracie is a happy, innocent, southern good girl with a great life, a great boyfriend with her whole college career, and life, ahead of her.  Everything is going well in her life until she meets Noah, the typical handsome, rugged bad boy with a reputation that screams: STAY AWAY.  As much as Gracie knows all about Noah, and his frat-boy ways, she also knows he shows her a softer side of himself that no one has ever had the honor of seeing.  It’s a rare glimpse into his soul she knows she can’t resist and isn’t willing to run from, no matter how bad his reputation is.

Noah has had his fair share of girls…but there’s something about Gracie.  She makes him want to be a better person.  He realizes he’s fallen for her….hard and fast. The problem is, he’s been the bad boy for so long, it’s all he knows.  The revolving door of girls, the parties, the booze and the cocky attitude that comes with it.  Hell bent on getting Gracie, he’s willing to do whatever it takes.  But when Gracie transfers to his college, even the best laid plans can crumble….and soon Noah’s ability in excelling at being a bad boy prick outshines his efforts to be the kind of guy she needs and deserves.

Gracie and Noah have a road ahead that will end up taking a toll on emotions, friendships and will end up crushing each of them in very different ways.

As I has said earlier in this review, this book pulled me in and didn’t let go until I read the very last word on the very last page….even as I write this review, Gracie and Noah’s story is with me.  This was a high emotion, gut wrenching, beautifully bittersweet love story…one that I’m sure many of us can relate to.  It’s a story about being so in love with a person that no matter what their faults are, the want and need to believe in that person trumps all reason…even if you know deep down inside what you are fighting for simply isn’t worth it.  I can’t tell you how many times I wanted to scream at Noah, and Gracie, while reading.  Michelle has done such an amazing job at transporting the reader into Gracie and Noah’s world and feeling all of the twisted emotions in this story.  I audibly gasped and was actually talking to Gracie while I was reading….I’m not sure if I have ever done that before with a book!  I was so utterly conflicted while reading Gracie and Noah’s relationship and the up’s and down’s that came with it.  And let me say, they were some great up’s and dismal down’s…but I loved it and I felt it.  I felt the hurt and the pain and the happiness.  Gracie grew up before our eyes, thanks to some amazing friends, and I was cheering for her to become the woman she had the potential to be from the very first chapter.  Noah is a sad soul, who I was also cheering for…but there are some things that he did that I had to put my megaphone away for.  The back and forth between them took a toll on me, but in my opinion, that’s the sign of a good book.  I want to feel something in the hours after I’ve finished reading, and Michelle has done that with In Too Deep.

I was a nervous wreck for the ending.  Noah had pulled my back into his corner many, many times throughout the story that I was truly conflicted with if I wanted them together or not.  Well, I won’t spoil it, but I will say I was relieved and delighted with how it played out.  Perfect, if you ask me.

Thank you, Michelle, for an amazing story.  I look forward to reading more from you and I know you have a bright future bringing us your amazing writing talent!

4LovesRLBFour Loves

 

About the author:

Michelle Kemper Brownlow has been a storyteller her entire life. Her debut was on the high school cheerleading bus granting requests to re-tell her most embarrassing moments for a gaggle of hysterical squadmates.
Earning her Bachelor’s degree from Penn State University in Art Education and then marrying her very own “Jake,” she moved to Binghamton, NY where she taught high school. After having two children she quit work and finished her Master’s degree in Elementary Education at Binghamton University.

The Brownlow family of four moved to Michelle’s hometown of Morgantown, PA while the children were still quite young. A few years after moving, her family grew by one when they welcomed a baby into their home through the gift of adoption. The family still resides in PA, just miles from where that high school cheer bus was parked.

Michelle has been an artist for as long as she can remember, always choosing pencils and crayons over toys and puzzles. As a freelance illustrator, her simple characters play the starring roles in numerous emergent reader books published by Reading Reading Books.

“Writing is my way of making sense of the world. When I give my characters life on the pages I write, it frees up space in my mind to welcome in new stories that are begging to be told,” says Brownlow.

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Comments

  1. Thank you for having me Jillian! I love love love stopping by READ-LOVE-BLOG, your reviews are always so great! Thankful to be a part of the greatness here! xoxo

    • Thank YOU for bringing me Gracie and Jake! I am honored to be a part of In Too Deep and am so looking forward to the great things I know will be happening for you and your talent <3

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