Book: Letting Go
Series: Love By Design #1
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
Publication date: June 13, 2017
Length: 332 pages
Reviewed by Meredith
Years ago, before tragedy struck, Alex made a child’s promise to always protect and care for his little sister, Evie. Then piece by piece, all the good in his life was taken away until Alex was left alone as guardian to his much younger sister. Suffering and loss scarred Alex, causing him to withdraw from the world. Struggling with anxiety and trust issues, Alex attempts to help Evie heal from their shared traumatic past, but each day is harder than the last. To make matters worse, Alex’s best friend, Ben, is pushing him to get out of his rut, confronting him with the fact that what Alex thinks is contentment is just stagnation and fear. The last thing he needs is for an old acquaintance to reappear in his life, making him feel things he hadn’t dealt with in years.
The executive of the marketing department at graphic design firm Vivid, Kelley has his life together. While not perfect, he’s happy with his career and his three best friends. A chance encounter with Alex, the guy he was once attracted to, is icing on the cake. Fighting through Alex’s defenses to find the breathtaking man underneath will be hard, but Kelley is up to the challenge. Kelley believes that the things most worth fighting for never come easy.
To accept all that Kelley is offering means Alex must drop his barriers. Kelley will need to keep trying and prove that Alex can trust him, even when grief and anxiety try to pull him back.
Letting Go is the debut novel from Morningstar Ashley and I can say she’s knocked it out of the park! This book deals with so much but the author doesn’t layer it on so you feel suffocated. It’s plotted perfectly and your emotions will be lit on fire. It’s not often I read a debut novel that takes my breath away but Letting Go did just that.
Mental health is something we don’t talk about a lot. It’s a vast area and there are so many suffering. Alex lives with so much on his shoulders and a heaping amount of denial that he needs help. All his energy and extra energy goes into his kid sister Evie. Oh and she needs all the extras! She’s a firecracker and will burrow into your heart quickly.
Kelley has his work cut out for him in this. He’s not perfect no matter how much he thinks he is and it isn’t until he jumps into the deep end of Alex’s world does he truly see that. My heart went out to him and I cheered for him and hoped. Only after this book took a plunge into the angsty pool made of my own tears did we finally breathe.
I suffer from anxiety so relating to Alex wasn’t hard but at the same time I couldn’t relate completely because his life isn’t one I’ve lived. I sympathized and empathized. I wanted to hug him and Evie countless times and tell them that everything will be okay.
Morningstar Ashley has written a story that touches on many things. Mental health, the world we live in, second chances, acceptance, bravery, and true and everlasting love. After reading this book I have no doubt that this author will be one that will hug our hearts for many books to come.
He had just been putting a hot pan from the oven onto the trivet he had set on the island when Kelley walked into the room, leaning against the entryway. “Need any help?” Kelley spoke, his voice low and deep with what Alex had come to realize meant he was turned on. And, of course, Alex was too because of his touches and caresses just a few minutes before. His kitchen wasn’t the place to act on it no matter how much that voice tempted him too.
“Nah, I got it. This is the last one to move to the platter.” Alex refused to look up, it would only make things worse.
He got so lost in his task of cutting and moving the food piece by piece to the platter that he hadn’t been watching Kelley. Suddenly strong arms were pinning him to the counter, and Kelley’s heat surrounded him.
“Alex, put the food down.”
He swallowed, hard. All he wanted to do was lean back, giving him access to the skin on his neck. He loved that spot on his neck licked and bitten and sucked. He wanted to give in to that temptation with Kelley so much it was getting more and more difficult to be rational.
“I have to finish moving the foo –” Alex’s words cut off when Kelley sucked his earlobe into his mouth using his teeth to bite at the lobe. Alex’s words turned into a choked sound.
“Alex?” Kelley spoke low against his neck, his hot breath fanning across his skin causing a tremor to run down his spine. He felt like he could’ve exploded right there in the middle of his kitchen.
“I want to kiss you. Turn around.”
He did. The demand itself cranking up his arousal even more. Logical thinking had been beyond him at that point. All he could think of was Kelley’s lips on him, and it didn’t matter where. Once he turned around, Kelley wrapped his arms around his waist pulling him flush against his body.
He could feel Kelley's breath on his lips. Just barely touching Alex's lips with his own. That was Kelley's way of leaving the decision to him, allowing him to decide if he wanted the kiss bad enough while his little sister was in the other room.
He wouldn't push him.
He never pushed him.
Alex knew he wanted that kiss. Wanted Kelley to take the kiss, to own his mouth. He wanted his tongue and taste to fill him. To help him let go, to just feel without his mind getting in the way. And Kelley proved last night that he was able to overwhelm his senses.
He leaned forward just enough to lick at Kelley's lips and whispered, "Yes."
About the Author
Morningstar Ashley is a transplant from the Yankee-controlled territory of New York, and now finds herself in the heartland of cowboys and longhorns—Texas. Armed with her imagination, wit, and trusty sidekicks in the form of her two crazy kids, devoted dorky husband, big lap dog, and rambunctious cats, Morningstar spends her time reading the books she loves, crafting her own characters, and arguing the merits of hot chocolate over the bitter brew known as coffee. (Hot chocolate wins, FYI.)
Morningstar loves graphic design, so much so she returned to school for a degree and regularly tromps her exams and maintains a stellar GPA that occasionally leaves her confounded and pleased. She can while away the hours on new designs, and perfection isn’t too much to hope for when it comes to her art. Her ideal career would be full time artist and author, and so far, she hasn’t come up against anything to stop her on her journey. A fierce and devoted friend, Morningstar tries her best to always be kind, always be learning, and always improving. Giving up isn’t an option, and her greatest talent may be in her ability to convince others not to give up, either.
After a lifetime of trying to get people to realize her first name wasn’t Ashley, Morningstar decided the best way to settle the debate was to put her name on a book cover. An avid reader and fiction reviewer for the blog and site Diverse Reader, Morningstar harbored a dream to one day join the ranks of her heroes, and she sweeps into the contemporary gay romance genre with her debut novel, LETTING GO. With plans to conquer gay, lesbian and LGBTQA+ romance, Morningstar has her gaze set on the horizon, her determination her own guiding star.
Morningstar is offering one person to win a paperback copy of Letting Go and
a $5.00 Amazon GC (sorry not international)
One other person will win a $5.00 Amazon GC ( all apply)
Contest will end on July 21st