Lean On Me by Nicola Haken Blog Tour - Feb. 24 to 28
5 Stars Simply Marvelous
I am blown away right now. I love this Take My Hand series. This one by far I'd say was my favorite. Maybe it's the humor and all the laughing out loud I did. But these charters I admire and relate to. A truly beautiful story Nicola!! You definitely came out in the story.
Rachel Mason the confident outgoing nothings holding me back kind of girl and Jared Mattheson the goofy bachelor is carefree in every way come together when Dexter and Emily leave for the states. Becoming best friends but what happens when friendship lines blur and find themselves headed straight into relationship territory? What happens when two people who have kept their most private secrets hidden and end up needing each other?
"Well, I told you I have to do things a little differently to most people." ~Rachel
A girl who shares my twisted sense of humor, likes the same TV shows, shares mutual friends, drinks like a fish, swears as much as I do…And who just happens to be fucking beautiful. ~Jared
I seriously love that they kept their friendship throughout and there funny whacky banter. I just loved it! To see all these stories unfold and get a taste of the characters in the first two novels were amazing but seeing Jared and Rachel's story come to life was anything less than brilliant. It was real, raw, and encouraging. It comforted me at times to feel like you let people into situations and I felt right there with these characters. I've experienced with a very close friend the situations Jared went through. Reliving it and feeling it was very emotional. Anyone who knows me knows that doesn't happen often. Experiencing it in high school as you know you just don't forget those life experiences. Fond memories!! But letting people in your window through the story I just loved that. Thank you!! I highly recommend this novel. It's simply humorous, very fun and has some serious topics with a flare.
Honored to receive and ARC for a honest review
Rachel Mason oozes confidence. She’s outgoing, adventurous and would chop off her right arm before caring what other people think of her or her disability.
Jared Mattheson on the other hand, is more than a little goofy and a whole lot of carefree. He’s happy living the bachelor life on his father’s credit card, takes nothing seriously and wouldn’t know difficulty if it slapped him in the face.
With Emily and Dexter away in the States, Rachel and Jared are left behind to keep each other company. They share the same sense of fun, their personalities bounce off one another perfectly and perhaps inevitably, they become best friends. But what happens when the lines of friendship start to blur? How will they cope when the sides of themselves they’ve kept hidden from the world for so long begin to show?
Their journey together may have started with fun, games and alcohol – but it seems the future has other ideas.
Turns out, even the strongest of people need someone to lean on sometimes.
(Not suitable for under 18’s due to adult language and sexual content)Meet the Author:
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children and she is the author of New Adult/Contemporary romance novels Inevitable, Saving Amy and the Take My Hand series. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found studying or carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties!
#1: Cajun Book Lover; Rumpled Sheets Blog; books are love
“I can’t wait any longer. Time for your other present.” I stared after him, biting my lips as I admired the way his perfect arse cheeks tightened with every stride as he walked out of the room. My heart continued to race in anticipation until he returned to the room holding…
“What the fuck is that?”
“A sex wedge,” he announced proudly, setting the giant foam wedge on top of the mattress. “I Googled ‘sex after spinal cord injury’. You won’t believe the positions I’m gonna get you into using this little beauty. I’ve just had my turn, saffy. Now it’s time for yours.”
Some girls need flowers, chocolates and candlelit dinners to make them feel wanted. Me? Turns out all I need is a triangular lump of foam. Knowing Jared had looked into ways to make me feel good, ways to help us get physically closer and knowing that what I experienced during sex actually mattered to him, made me feel like the most wanted girl in the world.
Special. I’ve always detested that word. But in that moment, staring at the navy-blue wedge lying suggestively on top of my bed… I had never felt so special.
Jared scooped me in his arms and carried me to the bed before gently laying me on my stomach over the wedge.
“She’s called Cindy.”
“You named it?” I retorted, unable to stop the laughter filtering into my voice.
“Cindy’s got a certain ‘porn star’ ring to it don’t you think?”
“Well maybe I don’t want to be bent over a Cindy, maybe I’d feel more comfortable being bent over a Mark or a Brad.”
“Well I’m not sharing a bed with anything called Mark or Brad, so you either get that fine body of yours acquainted with Cindy, or you’ll be brushing your own beaver tonight while I sleep on the sofa.” Words eluded me, so I just giggled and shook my head.
“Besides, I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to have two girls in my bed at the same time,” I couldn’t see his face but I could imagine only too well the delicious smirk it was sure to have on it.
So, there I lay, hugging Cindy with my knees bent, arse in the air -completely exposed to him. I’d never been in this position before and for the briefest of moments I felt a little embarrassed… until I felt him crawl up behind me and put his warm hands on my waist.
#2: Book Freak; The Book Whoreders'd Delights
“Okay. Goodnight, Dad.” He bent down and kissed the top of my head before patting my shoulder. “That’s a nice guy you’ve got there. I like him.”
“He’s not ‘my guy’.” Ugh, what is it with everyone tonight? “But thanks. He’s a good friend.”
“Not your guy, eh?” Jared ribbed when I entered the living room. He’d overheard. Well wasn’t that just fan-bloody-tastic.
“Your mum never tell you it’s rude to eavesdrop?” He chose to laugh instead of answer and I chose to glower at him rather than say anything else. Putting my brakes on and dropping my armrest, I gripped the arm of the sofa and heaved myself over it and onto the brown-leather seat. “Gimme some of that,” I said, holding my hand out towards his bottle of lager.
“So did your mum never tell you it’s rude not to say please?” Laughter took over my need to create a comeback until Jared scooted nearer to me… sitting so close our thighs were touching. Suddenly, I could barely breathe, let alone laugh. “You know… I could be your guy,” he whispered just inches away from my face.
Holy fuckballs with giant shiny bells on.
He wasn’t serious.
“You’re not serious?”
“Why wouldn’t I be?” He actually sounded genuinely surprised… maybe even offended. But he wasn’t serious. Was he? No… he couldn’t have been being serious. “Maybe I think you’re really fucking hot.” Oh fucking hell, was he… did he… sweet, Jesus, he just kissed my jaw!
“Stop fucking around, Jared,” I said firmly… shrugging away from him. He was pissing around, I knew he was, and that made the fact my heart had started racing so much more difficult to understand.
“I’m not fucking around, Rach. I like you…. A lot.” Okay, I’ve had my fair share of hook-ups and I seriously don’t think a single one has ever muttered those words to me.
“You and me? A one-night stand could ruin us… and you’re too good a friend for that.”
“Who mentioned a one-night stand?”
“You don’t know what you’re saying.” From the outside I know I have this whole I-don’t give-a-shit attitude going on regarding my disability, and for the most part that’s true. But that’s because it only affects me. However, when it comes to someone else wanting to get close… and stay close… that’s a whole new ballgame. Jared sees the fun side of me – the carefree, jokey, no-nonsense persona…
But the truth is, I do care… I do take things seriously and I know how difficult life can be living in a damn chair. People stare… people judge… people fuss…
Sure people want to be my friend… guys even want to hook up for the odd night. But they can go home again. I’ve never even considered the idea of someone being around for the long haul. For fuck’s sake listen to me? Jared said more than one night… that’s hardly a fucking future.
“This is to do with that thing, isn’t it?” he asked, nodding towards my wheelchair by the sofa. “Because you should know… I’ve never really even seen it until tonight. When you got hung up over that bruise on your side… well, that was the first time I’d ever seen you looking… ashamed, I guess. And I’ve got to be honest - I don’t get it.
“You’re just… you. You’re a girl I’ve gotten really close to recently. A girl who shares my twisted sense of humour, likes the same TV shows, shares mutual friends, drinks like a fish, swears as much as I do… and who just happens to be fucking beautiful. You’re sat down? So what?”
#3: Will Read for Coffee; The Biblio-Files: Confessions of a Book Whore
Day 5 ~ Your future boyfriend x
Day five? What the hell was that supposed to mean? Seemed I was about to find out when a few seconds later, Jared let himself into my flat, waving his key proudly in the air and looking too hot for his own good in black jeans and a white shirt with just the right amount of buttons undone at the top.
“Good afternoon to you too, saffy. I see you got my flowers?”
“Today is the fifth day you’ve still not said yes. If I were smarter I’d have started sending them on day one. But I’m not… so we’re starting at day five.”
“Well as long as you know you’re going to end up bankrupt,” I said dismissively, trying to ignore the warm feeling cocooning my heart.
“Nah. It won’t take that long,” he replied confidently. I simply shook my head, amused at his sureness. “You ready?”
“My hair is wet. Do I look ready?”
“You look beautiful.” A smile emerged on my lips without permission, even though I knew he was probably bullshitting me as part of his master plan. “Let me do your hair.”
“My hair. You… want to do… my hair?” What the…
“Sure,” he said, shrugging nonchalantly.
“Um… let me think. How about, fuck no!”
“I’m doing your hair.”
“You are not doing my hair!” I protested, gripping my hand-rims and wheeling away from him.
“I’ll catch you, saffy. I can run faster than you can wheel,” he teased.
“Seriously, I don’t get what’s gotten into you lately!” I stopped, throwing my hands in the air. Damn, I was laughing. I was supposed to be acting pissed off.
“Well I know what’ll be getting into you soon enough.” He strode over to me with a wicked grin illuminating his irritatingly gorgeous face. Then he bent down so his mouth was level with my ear, and when his breath swept across my heated cheeks my breath caught. Damn. “Me,” he whispered throatily.
Ah, fuck. I’m so screwed.
#4: Angee's After Thoughts; Miss Little Book Addict's House Of Books ; New books on my shelves
Rachel moved aside and I stepped cautiously passed her, tucking my hands into my pockets to stop my fingers - that were itching to touch her - reaching out and grabbing her. I settled myself on the sofa and waited for her to close the door. It felt like an eternity as I watched her wheel backwards from the door and spin around to face me, then my heart sank into my bollocks when she applied her brakes at the farthest end of the room.
“You’re still angry?”
“Yes. No. I… I don’t know.”
“Come sit with me,” I said encouragingly, patting the cushion beside me.
“I don’t want to,” she spat petulantly.
“Is there more to this than Jess coming round? Have I done something else? Because honestly, Rach, I thought we were solid.”
I love you.
Christ knows why I wasn’t brave enough to say that out loud in that moment.
“So did I,” she murmured faintly with a look of pure unadulterated sadness oozing from her deep-brown eyes. “But now…”
“Now what?” I all but demanded. “You know I haven’t done anything wrong, so what’s changed?”
“I have. Or rather… I haven’t. I don’t do relationships, Jared. They’ve always been a nice idea in my head… but when it comes to it, I’m…”
“Insecure I guess.” She looked embarrassed as she shrugged her small shoulders and swept the carpet with her eyes. I wanted nothing more than to scoop her up in my arms, take her to the bedroom and just… hold her. But I figured right now that would probably earn me a punch in the balls so I stayed where I was with my arse fixed firmly to the sofa.
“Look how quick I was to judge you?” she continued. “I wasn’t even prepared to give you the benefit of the doubt. I just believed in here,” she laid a flattened palm across her heart, “that you would hurt me. That’s no kind of relationship for either of us.”
Screw it. I needed to touch her and I needed to touch her fast. Almost leaping from the couch, I went over and dropped to my knees in front of her before resting my hands on her knees.
“If you don’t trust me, Rachel… I can deal with that. I’ll prove myself to you. I will make you trust me. Just don’t do this to us. I’ve never felt so close to someone before. I… I… Oh for fuck’s sake Rachel, I love you!”
“You… love me?”
“I’m afraid so, saffy. I am one hundred and fifty percent, whole-heartedly, can’t think straight when you’re not around, can’t imagine your face without getting a raging hard-on, in love with you.”
“I don’t know, Jared. Being in a relationship has never really interested me before. Therefore I never knew I was so insecure until we started going out… or jealous, possessive. I’m one of those girlfriends I have spent my life thinking were dumbarse fucking imbeciles and now, it turns out I’m one of them.”
“But I want you to be my dumbarse fucking imbecile.” Ah, there we go… a smile! I was getting somewhere and the feeling was like crack in my veins… addictive. I will spend my life proving to her how much I want, no need her if I have to.
#5: My Daily Romance; Ramblings of a Book Lunatic
“I’m sorry,” she breathed on a long exhale. “I’ve never done this before. If I’m honest I never thought I would. I didn’t think anyone would… I don’t know… want to stick around with the cripple. I suppose I’m finding it difficult to accept that you just might.”
“Don’t talk about yourself like that. It hurts me when you belittle yourself in that way. You know, when I was an outsider so to speak, I never would’ve guessed you had these doubts about yourself. And it really gets to me that you do. But at the same time, I kind of like it. To everyone else you’re so sure of everything and I feel sort of honoured that I know a different side of you - that I know the real you.
“I don’t know if you’ve had some kind of bad experience, whether some guy has said something out of order or treated you differently because of your disability… but I need you to remember I’m not that guy. The fact your legs don’t work means shit to me, Rach.
“I fell in love with your personality – your confidence and your sense of humour. I love the way you would make mince out of a man’s balls with your bare hands if they dared mess with someone you care about, and for some bizarre reason I even love your gross fetish for Pot Noodles. I love you, Rachel… fucked-up spinal cord and all.” I said firmly, cupping one side of her face with my hand and stroking my thumb across her jaw.
“I. Love. You. Every little piece of you. Your mad hair, your tattoos, your rich-brown eyes, this sparkly little ring,” I traced the ring sitting flush on her lower lip with my thumb, “and I especially love that cute little freckle just below your left bum cheek.”
“Shh,” I muttered, pressing a finger over her lips. “You don’t need to say it back. Not yet. I already know you feel it… but I don’t want you to say it until you trust me. And like I said this morning, you will, Rach, because I’m going to spend every day of forever proving it to you.”
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