Jilted by Rachael Johns with Excerpt and Giveaway

Welcome to my stop for Jilted the new release from Rachel Johns. Please be sure to check out the other tour stops, read the excerpt, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway where you could win one of FIVE Print Copies of JILTED and $20.00 Amazon eGift Card  from Rachel Johns.

Book Review

There is something so comforting about a small-town romance, the fact that all of the characters know one another, the history of people and place, the caring.  But those can also be the elements that have people running away as fast as they can: histories are hard to change in small towns, when everyone knows that mistake you made in grade 4, and can’t let you forget it.  Rachel Johns blends the good and the bad of a small rural town to bring us this story of love reunited.  You are curious, at first, to see just why Ellie would break her engagement to Flynn and dash for elsewhere, leaving the small town of Hope Springs behind.

And then, you are brought right back into the town with Ellie’s care for her godmother Matilda, and the sense of time standing still, in some respects, when Ellie returns, now with a public face and image that is ‘glossed and polished’ as a soap star.  But, deep down, Ellie is genuine and caring, with a core of strength that has carried her along these past years away from Hope Springs, and given her plenty of fortitude to deal with the less-than-welcome attention and attitudes toward her regarding the break between she and Flynn

Flynn, for his part, was a bit reckless when Ellie left, and still hasn’t completely dealt with that rejection, hurt and confusion.  And we have a while to wait before the reasons become clear for the broken engagement: another masterful stroke by Johns as she manages to keep many secrets that are huge twists under wraps until the characters are developed and progressed enough in their current interaction to reveal them.  Really, there were hints, but nothing concrete, and you think you know what you need to feel comfortable with their interactions and then….it changes.

Not in any way a glorification of the small rural community: Johns weaves in the difficulties and dark side with the gossip, the isolation, illness, speculation and even that particular brand of “side-taking’ that is most familiar in playgrounds and small towns.  These elements all manage to bring realism to the story without overburdening the reader or the characters with all of the less-positive moments. Characters that are flawed and more human for it, with a discernable growth in the characters and their interactions, this is a story that will be sure to make you a fan of Rachel Johns.

Jilted by Rachael Johns with Excerpt and Giveaway

Title: Jilted
Author: Rachel Johns
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published by: Harlequin MIRA
Format:eBook
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 349
Rated: four-stars
Heat: One FlameOne FlameOne Flame

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She'd left him at the altar, but her heart was always his……

After more than ten years away, Australian soap opera star Ellie Hughes returns to the small town of Hope Junction, determined to fly under the radar while caring for her injured godmother, Matilda.

But word spreads fast in the tight-knit community. It isn't long before the people of Hope Junction are gossiping about the real reason for Ellie's visit and why she broke the heart of golden boy Flynn Quartermaine all those years ago.

Soon Ellie and Flynn are thrown back together, forced to deal with the unresolved emotions between them. Because Ellie is not the only one with secrets. Flynn has his own demons to battle, and Matilda is hiding something from her much-loved goddaughter.

When all is uncovered, can the ill-fated lovers overcome the wounds of their past? Or is Flynn destined to be jilted again?

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

 

Tasty Excerpt

The house seemed quiet without Mat’s endless chatter, and Ellie’s thoughts returned quickly to the one thing she’d been trying not to think about. While Lauren had launched right into the subject of Flynn Quartermaine, Matilda hadn’t mentioned him at all. Ellie thought their taboo might have been lifted now she was back in Hope Junction, but it seemed her godmother was leaving that conversation for her to start. And she would. Soon.

Thoughts of just how soon were interrupted as she pushed open the door of her old bedroom. Expecting Mat to have turned the room to other uses, she gasped aloud at the sight in front of her. The room was exactly how she’d left it. Exactly. Goosebumps erupted across her flesh.

Matilda had cleaned and dusted, but aside from that, everything was just as Ellie had left it on that fateful morning. Teenage posters, her collection of troll dolls with rainbow hair, scented candles, lots of photos, a pair of bright purple Doc Martens and…

Forcing breath through her lungs and one foot in front of the other, Ellie stepped into the room and towards the single bed. Her eyes had already been drawn, like magnets, to the simple, white wedding dress that lay draped across the mattress. She stared for a second, mesmerized, before scooping it up and sighing at the feel of soft silk between her fingers. She clutched the A-line gown to her chest as if it were a long-lost teddy bear. Her thoughts immediately travelled back a decade, to a day in Perth when she’d felt like the poster child for happiness.

Marrying Flynn was any girl’s fantasy, and she’d wanted to be his fantasy when he watched her walk down the aisle. Silly, really, but she’d spent hours daydreaming about the expression on his face when he’d see her. She’d loved him so much. So much it made her chest ache if she thought about losing him. Her insides whirled like a rollercoaster whenever she even thought about kissing him. And so, when she’d walked past that boutique and seen the most elegant wedding dress with a fifty-percent-off tag, she’d thought it was fate.

And she’d been euphoric.

The shop had been about to close but she’d dragged in Tegan, her then best friend, and Matilda, and sweet-talked the assistant into letting her try on the dress. When she did, she never wanted to take it off again. It was simply perfect. No need for alterations at all. With Ellie protesting that she’d pay for it, Matilda had handed over her American Express card and someone managed to convince Ellie to take the dress off so the assistant could box it.

A tear dribbled down Ellie’s cheek at the memory. At the thought that she’d once been so sky-high happy.

Thinking she was probably crazy but unable to help herself, Ellie laid her fantasy gown back on the bed and stripped to her mismatched underwear. She wondered if the dress would still fit but, if anything, it was a little on the large side. With great effort she wrangled the tiny pearl buttons at her back and managed to do up every last one of them. She twisted to look in the mirror.

What a sight. Her face was stained red with tears and her hair flat from the cap that had trapped it all day long. She didn’t look like a bride any groom would get choked up over. She looked scary. But despite her appearance, Ellie didn’t look away or remove the dress. She shuddered at the idea of becoming Miss Havisham, but even that miserable vision didn’t spur her to remove it. After a while of standing like this, her eyes caught on something reflected in the mirror. Photo frames littered the old wooden tallboy behind her – most of them sickly sweet heart shapes containing pictures of her and Flynn.

She turned and snatched up a photo. A chill raced up her spine. She sank onto the bed, clutching Flynn’s image tightly in her hands. He was gorgeous. A heartthrob, sex on legs, a devil in denim and dangerously, deliciously beautiful. His all-Australian country-boy grin lit up his whole face, and the gleam in his sea-green eyes spoke volumes about the kind of fun-loving, hardworking bloke he always was.

She’d tried to forget. In the name of self-preservation she’d not taken even one tiny wallet photo when she left. She’d not allowed herself to think about the life they would have started together – the perfect house they were planning to build on Black Stump, the babies they’d dreamed of having… But now she realised how monumentally she’d failed. She may have repressed the memories but she hadn’t erased them. Looking at him now, tracing his eyes, his nose, his lips with her quaking fingers brought it all rushing back. The intensity of first love, first passion. How he had loved her so completely and stood up for her at every turn. Romeo and Juliet had nothing on Flynn and Ellie. Hope Junction had been up in arms when their golden boy – son of third-generation landowners – had started going out with her. Not only did she not come from farming stock, but her mother had dumped her and her father hadn’t even stuck around long enough to see her born. Thankfully the teenage Flynn had already developed both backbone and morals. He didn’t give a damn what the town thought. He saw past her situation to the real Ellie, and before long his dedication won over his parents and the rest of the town too. Pretty soon Ellie was loved and accepted as if she were a fourth-generation local as well, and that was no easy feat. When Flynn had asked her to marry him, everyone was genuinely ecstatic. The only comments about them being too young came from girls Ellie’s age and she wrote off their jibes as simple jealousy.

‘Oh Flynn.’ Sniffing, she looked down at the photo and tried to push away the millions of what if’s that floated into her mind. What if things had been different? What if her mother had never asked to meet her in Perth? What if, for once, she’d put her own needs first and said no? What if Flynn had come with her to Perth as he’d said he would? What if she’d stayed and married him anyway? Would they be happy now? Would they have kids? Some would say her life in Sydney as an actress and celebrity was a charmed one, but her whole body ached with the thought of just how magical it could have been if she’d been living it with Flynn.

 

 

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About Rachel Johns

Rachael Johns is an English teacher by trade, a mum 24/7, a supermarket owner, a chronic arachnophobic, and a writer the rest of the time. She rarely sleeps and never irons. She writes contemporary romance for HQN and Carina Press and lives in rural Western Australia with her hyperactive husband and three mostly-gorgeous heroes-in-training. Rachael loves to hear from readers and can be contacted through her website

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