Release Date: June 12, 2018
No one lays open the heart and soul quite like New York Times bestselling author Mia Sheridan.
The moment she met Callen Hayes, eleven-year-old Jessica Creswell knew he was a broken prince. Her prince. They became each other’s refuge, a safe and magical place far from their troubled lives. Until the day Callen kissed her–Jessica’s first real, dreamy kiss–and then disappeared from her life without a word.
Years later, everyone knows who Callen Hayes is. Famous composer. Infamous bad boy. What no one knows is that Callen’s music is now locked deep inside, trapped behind his own inner demons. It’s only when he withdraws to France to drink his way through the darkness that Callen stumbles into the one person who makes the music return. Jessica. His Jessie. And she still tastes of fresh, sweet innocence . . . even as she sets his blood on fire.
But they don’t belong in each other’s worlds anymore. There are too many mistakes. Too many secrets. Too many lies. All they have is that instinctive longing, that need–and something that looks dangerously like love.
“Just for tonight—just one damn night—I wanted to lose myself in the sweetness so clear in this girl’s eyes, the pure innocence I could feel emanating from her.”
Romance lovers, rejoice! Mia Sheridan has created another absolutely unforgettable hero in Callen! This book made me literally sob happy tears at the end. It is an absolutely gorgeous story about the power of love, forgiveness and redemption.
Jessica and Callen were childhood friends, both trying to escape very unhappy homes. They bonded over music but one day Callen literally disappeared without warning and Jessica had no idea what happened to the boy who had stolen her heart.
“The two years I’d spent with her had been the only real childhood I’d had, the only time I’d allowed myself to play, and to lose myself in lands of fantasy, where anything was possible. She had been the only good. And yet that time was riddled with pain, too, and memories I didn’t want to look at, memories I constantly tried to push away.”
Years later they meet up by chance in France where Jessica has traveled to work on translating ancient writings about Joan of Arc (side note: I loved the parallel story about a young woman chronicling the life of Joan of Arc! Beautiful.) But Callen is now a famous composer, known for his constant partying and stream of women. He is also struggling with writer’s block and cannot seem to finish his latest composition. His tragic childhood has left him emotionally scarred and he is also hiding a potentially damaging secret.
Jessica is smart and kind and innocent. She has always loved Callen but is painfully aware of the women in his life and his inner demons. Is there any way that these two very damaged people will ever have a chance at happiness together?
“Callen Hayes was not the boy I’d known, and I shouldn’t have forgotten that, even for a moment, even here in this gorgeous room in the Loire Valley, where fate seemed to have once again brought us together.”
The plot sounds like this story is a cliched romance but it is definitely not! Callen and Jessica’s romance is gorgeous and emotional and very unexpected. The setting in France is beautiful and fills the story with richness. But underlying the story is the sadness that Callen carries with him and which could mean the end of his renewed relationship with Jessie.
“There was no place for sweetness in my life. And definitely no place for innocence.”
Callen and Jessie embark on a tentative relationship while she is completing her translation job in France. Jessie always believed in Callen but yet he doesn’t feel worthy of her. It is hard to compare a romantic hero to Mia’s Archer from Archer’s Voice but Callen comes very close. To the world he is a sexy musician but he feels unworthy of the adulation and especially of Jessie’s love.
“You weren’t nobody to me. To me you were everything.”
I loved the setting of this book and the surprising revelation about Callen, I also loved the “love story within a love story” relating to Joan of Arc. The Epilogue was just perfect. Mia Sheridan certainly knows how to grab your heart and she succeeded with this absolutely gorgeous love story!
“The music plays when I’m with you.”
(Reviewed from an advanced copy provided by the publisher.)
Photo courtesy of the author.