Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Release Day Spotlight & Review: Can't Walk Away by Sandy James

by Sandy James
(October 10, 2017; Forever Yours eBook; $3.99; Nashville Dreams Series Book 1)

In Nashville the stars shine a little brighter, songs sound a little sweeter, and love lasts a lifetime.

Young, rich, and better looking than a man has a right to be, successful songwriter Brad “Hitman” Maxwell was once Nashville’s biggest celebrity.  Then a heartbreaking loss and a shocking betrayal caused his light to go out.  Now, instead of pouring his soul into song, he pours beers at Words & Music.  His bar is the perfect escape—a place to forget his past—until the night she takes the stage…

Savannah Wolf used to dream of becoming Nashville’s hottest star.  Now, as a young single mom, she dreams of a steady income and being home to tuck her daughter into bed.  So when Brad Maxwell offers her the gig of a lifetime—playing as the headliner at Words & Music—Savannah discovers the best of both worlds.  And she refuses to ruin this opportunity by falling for her sexy boss.  Except that Brad suddenly starts writing music again…music inspired by her.

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CAN’T WALK AWAY by Sandy James
Blog Blitz Excerpt

By the fifth take, Brad was losing his patience.
Had he been wrong in thinking Savannah was something special, something new? He sure as hell didn’t think so.
Then why couldn’t he get her to sing with the passion she’d shown back at Words & Music?
Maybe it was the song. “That Smile” was his first attempt at writing in a long time. Perhaps it wasn’t up to snuff?
No. When Brad had heard Savannah sing it earlier, he’d known he’d written a strong song with a good melody and a catchy beat.
Something was clearly blocking her talent.
I’m sorry, Brad.” She dropped the headphones from her ears to let them rest around her neck. Then, head bowed, she started shuffling through the sheet music.
He’d never seen her look defeated before, and he didn’t like it. This wasn’t the Savannah who’d been his muse. This wasn’t the woman who brought back his music.
This was…a disaster.
But why?
He watched her closely, trying to find some telltale clue as to what was going on today that had robbed Savannah of the passion and talent he’d counted on. Her hair was braided, the braid an eclectic mixture of blond and blue. A blush tinted her cheeks, and he could hear her nervousness through the quaver in her voice, especially in the last notes of her fifth recording.
Something was definitely wrong, and he was going to have to find a way to fix it. But he couldn’t do that from another room. Even though he could see her, something told him she needed something more personal. Unsure of whether being closer to her would make a difference, he figured it was worth a shot.
Brad started a new recording so he could capture the song if he was able to help her, pushed himself away from the console, and headed to the recording booth with his remote control in his pocket. He pulled the door open and stepped inside.
Savannah glanced up from the music, offering him a wan smile that made his frustration evaporate. She knew something was wrong, too. Maybe if they put their heads together, they could get back the magic.
After pulling a stool beside hers, he sat. Then he gently took off her headphones, plucked the pages from her hands, and placed them back on the music stand. She let her eyes meet his, and he could see her concern.
We’re going do things a little differently this time,” Brad said, keeping his voice low.
We are?”
He nodded and scooted closer. Then he wrapped his hand around one of hers. “You’re not going to think about recording.”
I’m not?”
Nope. This time you’re just going to sing to me. That’s all.”
Her whole body relaxed, and Brad had to fight the desire to smile.
Sing to me, Savannah. Just to me. Okay?”
She nodded, and before she could get a chance to think about what he was doing, he pulled a remote from his pocket and began the music playback so that it echoed through the room.
The notes of the intro flowed around them, and he kept her grounded by not allowing her to glance away. When she opened her mouth to sing, he gave her hand a reassuring squeeze and offered her an encouraging smile.
And sing she did. Each delightful note came from deep inside her, and he found himself caught in some kind of spell, the same type she’d woven around him back at Words & Music. He hung on each rise and fall of that delicious voice until the last note echoed through the booth.
The song might have ended, but not the magic. Brad found himself leaning closer, his eyes fixed on her soft, pink mouth. Desire ripped through him as she mimicked his action, drawing ever so slowly closer until he could feel the sweet heat of her breath against his face.
With a groan of surrender, he captured her mouth with his own, giving her no warning as his tongue swept deep inside.
Savannah nearly knocked over her stool when she rose to thread her arms around his neck. She was such a little bit of a thing that he could stay seated and draw her between his outstretched legs without interrupting the kiss. As she moved closer, Brad wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her hard against him.
The kiss turned ravenous, and he realized that he was done fighting this attraction.

When you are drawn to a title for no reason...that's how I approached Can't Walk Away. I can't say it was because it's based within the centre of country music roots because I don't even like the genre. However, the 'je ne sais quoi' worked it's magic for me.

Brad 'Hitman' Maxwell may still be surrounded by the music that made his fortune but nowadays he's happier working the bar and managing Words and Music. When a new talent mesmerises him during the bar's Indie talent night, it not only reawakens his desire to write songs but to rethink his current life choices especially ones close to his heart.

Savannah Wolf is happy waiting on tables at Words and Music even though her first love is singing. Despite an unsuccessful try at getting a break in the music scene years earlier, she hopes to try again so that she can build a better life for herself and daughter. When she impresses her bosses during an indie talent night, she's offered a contract she can't refuse. However, the opportunity is a catalyst for far more than just a regular singing gig.

Brad and Savannah are perfect for each other due to their mutual love of country music. Both have experienced the negative sides of the business yet that doesn't help either of them to understand the issues each is struggling with because the lines of communication between the two get crossed repeatedly. You can feel the frustrations and despair when things are off kilter as much as when all is right within their world.

The author kept my attention always as she enlightens her readers with the country music scene in Nashville and wraps an enticing romance within it. The protagonists are adorable together as their attraction slowly moves up a notch. The secondary characters, mainly Brad's partners will hopefully be featured in their own books as they are portrayed as men who have a fascinating story to tell.

Can't Walk Away is the second book I've read by Sandy James and look forward to reading more in this series and catching up with her back list.

***arc generously received courtesy of Forever Yours via NetGalley***

Sandy James lives in a quiet suburb of Indianapolis and is a high school psychology teacher.  She owns a small stable of harness racehorses and enjoys spending time at Hoosier Park racetrack.  She has been an Amazon #1 Bestseller multiple times and has won numerous awards including two HOLT Medallions. 

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