Title: Sweet Fall (Sweet Home, #3)
Author: Tillie Cole
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 26 2014
From the USA Today Best Selling Sweet Home Series, comes Sweet Fall; a tale of heartache, beating the odds and finding strength in the most unlikeliest of places.
We all have secrets.
Secrets well buried.
Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.
Lexington "Lexi" Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve.
When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year's NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track.
But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman—a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.
Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?
New Adult/Contemporary Romance novel—contains adult content, sexual situations and mature topics. Suited for ages 17 and up.
*CAN BE READ AS A STAND-ALONE NOVEL*
“Two shooting stars that burned out too quickly, never quite reaching each other's skies."
Sweet Fall is book three in Tillie Cole’s Sweet Home series. While the characters in this series certainly interconnect and there is some over-lapping of the stories, this book can be read as a stand-alone. This is one of those books that must be “experienced”. Ms. Cole has a unique ability to draw her reader in by unapologetically giving us characters who bare their souls, scars and all. Her character driven romantic tales are gritty, raw and real and she manages to transport her reader into the complex inner workings of her hero and heroine with beautifully written narrative that packs such an emotional punch to the gut. I know that this story was personal to this author and this fact truly shines through. She has penned a powerful tale of how two broken and troubled individuals with secrets find solace in one another.
Lexington Hart (a.k.a. Lexi) is finally able to live her dream as a senior at the University of Alabama and a cheerleader for the Crimson Tide cheer squad. She may be living the dream but she is faking her way through life. Lexi hides behind a carefree façade simply pretending to be happy, in good health and strong. But, deep down, she is fragile, scared and broken, her true self disappearing behind all the carefully applied “war paint” on her face and goth look. Lexi is suffering from a very real disorder, one that she has had to fight hard to overcome. However, being back on the cheer team is a trigger and the voice in her head is starting to rear its ugly head once again threatening to pull her back into the darkness.
Austin Carillo has a dangerous and edgy demeanor that keeps most people at bay despite the fact that he is a wide receiver for the Crimson Tide and Rome Prince’s best friend. Considering his upbringing and his ex-gang member status, he is living a life so acutely different from his childhood. Austin is doing everything in his power to make it into the NFL and play professional football; however, his loyalty to his family keeps him walking the fine line of attempting to balance two vastly different worlds. Austin is on the precipice of greatness, his dreams are within reach. If only he can keep the two worlds he lives in from colliding.
Lexi and Austin know about one another simply due to their roles with the Crimson Tide; however, they first meet under unfortunate circumstances. It would seem very unlikely, after such an initial introduction, that the pair would want anything to do with the other; however, they both are inexplicably drawn to each other. They forge a fragile relationship, one where trust is slowly built. Neither one of them could have foreseen just what they would come to mean to each other. Life has a way of throwing us curveballs. Lexi finds herself spiraling out of control into the dark abyss of her disorder. Austin finds himself being dragged back into the clutches of the world he has been trying so hard to stay away from. They both make mistakes along the way. They both need to be saved. Lexi and Austin are so fundamentally flawed, but it is in their brokenness that we see beauty as well. There is something to be said for connecting with someone at such a profound level that they allow them to see you inside out. That is real life and real beauty.
Ms. Cole touches on some very real and powerful issues in this book. To do this with sensitivity took a lot of courage, and a lot of heart. She teaches us in this book that sometimes we are so close to the brink of destruction at times in our loves that all it would take is one little push for it all to shatter. More often than naught, we can’t handle all that life throws at us on our own. Sometimes we simply need someone there to hold our hand through it all and hold us up. Sometimes the path to conquering our demons is to find someone to share your burden with.
All in all, Sweet Fall was everything I have come to expect from a Tillie Cole book. There were times where this book had me in an emotional choke hold and all I could do was keep reading in hopes that I would be able to breathe once again. It was powerful. It was epic. I highly recommend reading this book and the previous two books as well if you have not already done so.
Walking behind Axel, I gripped his arms and wrenched him back. “Back the fuck off, Axe,” I ordered as Axel stumbled back. Looking over Axel’s shoulder, a pair of huge green eyes glanced up at me, and I stilled.
Hell. It was that cheerleader. The one I’d spoken to after the game.
I tipped my head up to the sky. Someone up there really fuckin’ hates me.
Axel was suddenly in my face. “The bitch saw too much. She needs to know she can’t talk. I gotta deal with this shit now! Can’t have no loose ends,” he hissed out, his hands fisted at his sides as the cheerleader seemed to sink her tiny body back even farther against the wall, eyes darting everywhere but on us. She was crying, for fuck sake. Her black makeup was all over her pale face.
“She won’t.” I looked at the chick. “Will you?” I practically growled. She was frozen with fear. “Fuckin’ tell him!”
More water filled her eyes and she began shaking her head. “I-I-I won’t.”
Spinning Axel around by his arm, I said, “The cops are just about here. You need to split. I’ll make sure she doesn’t squeal.” Axel spit on the ground at her feet before pushing past me, but not before I grabbed his bicep again, my mouth at his ear. “You and me need to talk. You’ve fucked up, brother—Levi dealing for the crew, bringing this to my school, everything! I’m not gonna let this shit go.”
Scoffing a laugh at my threat, Axel ripped his arm from my hand and marched off in the direction of the parking lot. I watched him go, and the hairs on the back of my neck stood on end. I wasn’t getting a good feeling about something. Like some big fuckin’ omen was following my brothers. It was obvious Axel was getting in deeper with the crew, moving up, getting in tighter with Gio, and by the looks of things, dragging Levi with him.
Dragging him straight into hell.
A shuffling sound from behind me pulled my attention.
Shit. The chick. I’d almost forgotten about her.
Just as I turned around, I caught her edging away, trying to make her escape. That is until she saw me watching and froze, like a damn deer caught in headlights. I had to sort this shit quick, protect my family. No matter the cost.
“What the fuck did you see?” I snapped coldly.
“N-nothing, I saw nothing…” she whispered, all huge eyes on her tiny face. She must have only been about five feet flat.
“You’re lying,” I said coldly.
“No… really…” she whispered. I could see her pulse slamming in her slim neck.
What the fuck was she doing here in the quad, on her own, at this time of night anyway? Only reason I was even lifting weights this late was because Rome and me always put in extra sessions, way more than anyone else.
I pushed my chest against her body and heard a short sharp inhale of breath. “You saw my brother. What was he doing? And don’t fuckin’ lie.”
I knew she knew what was going down, of course, but I needed her so fearful of me that she wouldn’t say shit even to her closest friends. I had to make sure she kept her mouth shut. Couldn’t go spreading rumors around campus.
With a slump of her shoulders, I saw the fight leave her body. “Drugs. I think he was selling drugs.” She sighed in defeat. “No. I know he was selling drugs.”
Breathing in through my nose, I tipped my head back.
Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother -- a farmer's daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.
Tillie is giving away a Kindle Fire HDX and this is open internationally