Thursday, September 18, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Saving Tatum by Micalea Smeltzer

         Even tough girls need saving. Jude Brooks is bad news. He’s the kind of guy that leaves behind a string of broken hearts and Tatum O’ Connor is not about to be one of those girls, despite all of Jude’s advances. They have a past, and Tatum’s determined to make sure they don’t have a future. Unfortunately for her, “no” isn’t a word in Jude’s vocabulary. The more she backs away, the more he pushes. But what if he pushes too far? Tatum’s hiding a pain that no one sees and holding on to a hurt that may never heal. Letting Jude into her heart could shatter her completely—and what if she opens up to Jude and he can’t handle her baggage? Love is never easy—especially when the person you’re falling for is the person you blame for the worst event in your life. Love, heartache, and despair. That’s the name of the game when you’re Saving Tatum.

            Happiness had been absent from my emotions for a long time. On the surface, I wore a smile and never showed the struggles I dealt with on the inside. The fact of the matter was, I’d been hurt. I was damaged goods, and I hadn’t believed I was the kind of girl worthy of love—of being saved. But I was beginning to see that everyone is worth saving. It was strangely appropriate that the man I’d let break me, was the one to put me back together. I didn’t know what tomorrow, or next week, or even the following month might hold for us, and I wasn’t going to let myself overthink it. I was going to live in the moment. Jude lay on his back, staring up at the clear blue sky. “Tatum?” “Yeah,” I replied when he didn’t continue immediately. “Can I hold your hand, or are you going to hit me for that?” I turned my head and laughed at his serious expression. “I think that would be alright, and I really am sorry about that. It was an automatic reaction.” “So…” He started, a slow grin appearing on his face. “Your first response to a guy kissing you, is to slap him? Interesting.” He was never going to let me live this down. I really hadn’t meant to hit him. He knew that, but he also enjoyed my pain. Douche. “Only one guy.” “I’m the only guy to ever kiss you?” He brightened. “No!” I immediately shut him down. “I’ve kissed other guys, but you’re the only one that I…you know…” “Slapped?” He supplied. “Should I be honored that you like to hit me?” He winked. “You make me sound like I’m abusive,” I pouted, feeling ashamed of myself and my behavior. “Nah,” he propped his head up on his hand and stared down at me. “You’re just a tough girl.” “Tough?” I wrinkled my nose. “That doesn’t sound very appealing.” “Oh, trust me,” his brown eyes sparkled, “it is. It’s hot as hell actually. But you want to know a secret, Tate?” I nodded and he lowered his head so his mouth was pressed against my ear. My body shuddered at the close proximity and the heavenly feel of his breath ghosting against my skin. “Even tough girls need saving.” “Is that what you’re going to do Jude?” I quirked my head and squinted from the sun shining in my eyes. “Are you going to save me?” “No,” he shook his head, his dark hair brushing my forehead. “You’re going to save yourself.” He said the words with such surety that I couldn’t help but believe him. When I didn’t say anything he rolled onto his back and finally entwined our hands together. Peace flooded my body and I didn’t understand it. How could the man that had filled me with such torment not long ago, calm my body with a simple touch? It was mindboggling. I rolled my head slightly to the side, studying his profile—the elegant slope of his nose and the slant of his lips. I couldn’t believe I was thinking this, and he’d probably kill me if I said it out loud, but he was beautiful—inside and out. It was a shame that I was just now noticing it. I think a lot of people never saw what a magnificent person he was. He hid his true self behind cocky smiles and flirtatious come-ons. “You’re staring at me.” “I’m not,” I hastily turned my head away. “I felt your eyes,” he continued. “You were totally staring. It’s okay, look all you want. I know I’m quite the feast for your eyes.” With my free hand I smacked his stomach. My God he had abs of steel. I think I hurt my hand more than I did any damage to him. Not that I was really trying to hurt him. Although, I thought he needed a nice blow to his ego. I squealed as he rolled on top of me and I found my arms pinned above me, pushed into the sand. His tongue slowly snaked out between his plump lips to moisten their surface. I thought he was going to kiss me, but he didn’t. I was learning that Jude rarely did what I expected of him. In many ways he was a mystery. His dark eyes grew serious as he stared down at me and I found myself squirming as his hips dug into mine. I felt my body responding to the position—muscles tightening, pulse racing, and an overwhelming ache building inside me. “Are you sure about this?” He breathed softly. There was a vulnerability in his eyes that I’d only ever seen when he was around his grandpa. “About us? Or am I going to wake up in the morning and find that you’re gone?” “You really think I’d run away?” I replied, wiggling my hips, which caused him to hiss sharply between his teeth. “Honestly? It wouldn’t surprise me. You’re afraid of your own feelings,” he lowered his head, brushing his nose against my neck. My eyes closed and a pleased hum resounded in my throat. There was still a voice in my head telling me to push him away, but I was done listening to it. “It’s okay to be scared, Tate,” he nipped my earlobe, the heat of his body wrapping around mine like a blanket. “I’m scared too.” “You are?” I breathed, my voice so soft the wind nearly carried it away. I felt him nod, his hair tickling my neck. “I’ve never felt this way about anyone, but you,” he confessed. “It’s always been you."

"Every day and what it brings is a mystery, a gift to be unwrapped and treasured.  All we can do is find happiness in the little things and peace in the chaos."

Saving Tatum by Micalea Smeltzer is the next book in the Trace & Olivia Series.  The readers first met Tatum in the book Tempting Rowan, and now Micalea Smeltzer gives them her story, one of heartache, grief, anger and eventually acceptance and love.  The emotions in this book jump off of the page and smack the reader in the face; sometimes making you laugh and other times making you sigh.  This was a 3.5 star read for me and I recommend this incredible series to everyone, it is definitely one of my top series of all time!

Tatum closed herself off to the world after her brother Graham died during his senior year in high-school and she blamed their classmate Jude for his death all of this time.  For the last several years she has focused on school and her hate for Jude, never letting anyone get close enough to see the truth; that she was broken and unsure of how to fix herself or her life. That is until Jude worms his way in one silly question at a time while she shadows him for her last journalism paper.  Jude bets Tatum, or Tater Tot as he calls her, that by the time her paper is done, that she will believe he is a good guy and she won't hate him anymore.  She doesn't believe him, thinking that nothing could end the hate that she has in her heart, that not hating him would mean she didn't feel for her brother's death any longer, that her life of solitude wasn't a way to live. And Jude shows her just that.  

" No matter how bad your day is, or what kind of horrible shit you go through, loving someone completes you."

Tatum slowly lets Jude into her life, and he starts to make her wall crumble, one crack at a time.  She sees a different side of him and how he appreciates the beauty in even the simplest things, like a sunset.   She falls for him a little bit at a time, while watching him be so kind and caring with every patient in the nursing home, when he brings her twizzlers because they are her favorite, how he loves his Pap and worries for him.  But Tate can't give herself fully to Jude because she hasn't accepted the things in her life that she refuses to see for what they really are and not how she remembers them to be.  It is Jude who helps her find her way, who stands by her when her father is out of control, who loves her no matter what and knows everything about her, things that she didn't even know that he had paid attention to.  And that is when she fell in love with him.  Although their start was rocky and one-sided at first, the love that blooms between them is real.  Although their relationship has its up and downs; its unwavering.  A beautiful love story.

"I hadn't been looking for the one, or anyone for that matter, but love doesn't wait till you think you're ready.  It comes along when you least expect it and turns your life upside down.  It sends you on a journey of epic proportions and changes the course of your life. It completes you."

Micalea Smeltzer is a bestselling Young and New Adult author from Winchester, Virginia. She’s always working on her next book, and when she has spare time she loves to read and spend time with her family.

 Twitter: @msmeltzer9793 
 Instagram: micaleasmeltzer

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