Today I am so excited to be part of the blog tour for House Divided by Jennifer Peel. I stayed up soooo late reading this book just to see how it ended.
We first meet Ella when she's describing the rules that rule her life and her town. You have to be an Auburn fan or an Alabama fan, you don't ever wear a crown, and you don't associate with the Jackson family. Ella breaks the biggest of those rules when she falls in love with Brady Jackson.
They are cruelly torn apart as teens and then the book fast forwards to ten years later. Ella has come home to take care of a family situation and Brady seems to be everywhere she is. Ella is trying to reconcile her buried feelings and hurt and betrayal from their breakup years ago, as well as unravel the mystery as to why the rules were there in the first place. That is what kept me up late. While I loved the romance between Ella and Brady, I just had to know why those rules came to be. And it was worth the wait. So tender.
I enjoyed the southern touches the author uses, they felt genuine, I liked the small town setting, and the characters were endearing, especially Brady. I love second chance romance stories and this one did not disappoint. A great afternoon/evening/half the night read!
(You should scroll all the way down to read an excerpt AND for the giveaway!)
Here is the back copy:
There is a law irrevocably decreed in the state of Alabama that you must choose a team. You're either an Auburn fan or an Alabama Fan. There is no fence sitting or waffling. It’s one or the other. However, it doesn't mean that you can’t fall in love with someone from the opposing side. They even have a name for it ... House Divided. Ellie Eaton and Brady Jackson were just such a couple, but unfortunately they were separated by more than just their loyalty to a university. Against the odds and against the rules, Ellie and Brady dove right into the forbidden current of friendship and then love. Their sweet, innocent romance was one for the storybooks, but old rules and family prejudices ultimately tore them apart, just as they were each ready to depart to their beloved universities, Ellie to Auburn and Brady to Alabama. But years later, when near tragedy strikes, they're brought together again and given a second chance at love, this time with help from some very unlikely sources. House Divided is a sweet romance filled with southern charm, a dash of humor and, for good measure, a pinch of lies and intrigue.
Author Jennifer Peel I'm a Colorado native who currently calls Alabama home. I'm the mother of three amazing children who have grown up way too fast. I enjoy the mountains, vacations at the beach, date night with my husband, late night talks with my kiddos, touring model homes, and pink bubblegum ice cream. I grew up on the Western Slope in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. I learned to love the beauty of the outdoors, but not camping--unless staying overnight at the Marriott counts. I met my husband while living in Denver and then several years later we traded the beauty and majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains for the art and culture of Chicago, Illinois. My family and I enjoyed living near this world class city, despite the crazy cold winters, but new adventures awaited in Northern Alabama--just six hours away from Orange Beach, Alabama. These three magical places (the Colorado Rocky Mountains, Chicago, and Orange Beach) are the inspired locations used in several of my books.
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 4/12/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
I was so thrilled that Brady was in my home that I didn’t notice he wasn’t acting like himself. I pulled him into our drawing room where the fireplace was lit and the twelve-foot high Christmas tree sparkled in the dimly illuminated room. Under the tree sat my wrapped present for Brady. I retrieved the present and sat in front of the fireplace on the floor. Brady sat next to me, and before I could say a word, he pulled me to him and kissed me like he never had before. It was like a man kissing a woman, not a boy kissing a girl. I could barely breathe when he was done. His breathing was ragged too.
"Well, Merry Christmas," I said. That was present enough for me. He smiled that country boy smile I loved so much, but it was then I noticed it didn’t touch his eyes like his smile always had. "What’s wrong, Brady?"
He pulled on my hair, like he always had. "Ellie …"
"Brady?" He took a deep breath and looked at me with his baby blues. "We can’t be together anymore," he quickly blurted out. I just shook my head. Surely I had heard him wrong, but I knew I hadn’t. I backed up, and he scooted closer. The tears welled up in my eyes and in his. "Please, Ellie, just listen to me."
"My name is Ella," I replied bitingly.
"Ok … Ella. I’m so sorry, but being with you is tearing my family apart, and with my daddy so sick … I … I have to … I have to do this for my family. Can you please understand that?"
I was speechless. I loved him. I had broken my aunt’s rules and heart for him. And he, he was the one who pursued me and who had to shout it to the world that we were together. How could he just end it like that? I didn’t understand. The tears began to flow. He tried to wipe them away, but I wouldn’t let him. I didn’t want him to touch me.
He stood up, but before he left, he looked down at me. "I love you, Miss Ellie." How could he? I just stared up at him blankly. "Don’t worry, Ellie, you don’t have to say it back. I love us enough for the both of us."