Blog Tour: Love Always, Damian by d. Nichole King

Thrilled to be a blog tour spot on release day for this amazing book!   Grab your tissues, read the info and interview and my review here, and then grab the book and settle in for another ugly cry!


Love Always, Damian
(Love Always Series Book #2)
by d. Nichole King
Released: May 26th 2015
Publisher: Limitless Publishing
 
They say time heals all wounds. 
What a load of bull. It’s been four years, and Kate’s voice still echoes in my mind. 
Every. Damn. Day. 
I numb her memory when it taunts me. In college, I drown her out with booze and easy lays. 
I can’t do what she asked. 
I can’t let her go. 
Not even when Lia shows up, freaking ripping what’s left of me to shreds. Caring about someone isn’t worth the deadness that follows after they’re gone. I didn’t ask for this. Didn’t ask for her. 
And I sure as hell didn’t plan to miss her when she walked out of my front door. Now, if I want to keep her, I have to straighten myself out and earn her. I can’t screw this up. 
Because if I do, I’ll lose more than just Lia. 

I’ll lose my life…
 
 
 
••*´¨`*•.☆•Excerpt••*´¨`*•.☆•
It takes me an
hour to get to the cemetery. After Mom and Liam died, I never stepped foot
here. Not until Kate convinced me to come. It had been one of her five wishes.
One through three I’d done because she was with me. Because I loved her. I
promised her number four, so I followed through. Number five, though?
Number five is
impossible.
I come here often
now—day, night, whenever I need to be close to her. Even in death, Kate draws
me in. To this place where she’d only trodden once when she was alive.
I grab the three
bouquets of flowers from the passenger seat and swing the door open. When Kate
brought me here four years ago, I barely managed to get out of the car. Now
it’s easy.
Too fucking easy.
I don’t even think
about coming anymore. It’s automatic. Routine, like my nightly shots of
whiskey.
It shouldn’t be
like this. In three short years I lost the three people I loved most. Death
sucks, and I’ve had my fill.
I slam the door
closed and tread over the grass. The three identical stones jut up from the
ground, and even when I’m here after dark, I don’t have a problem seeing them.
They’re etched into my memory.
The idea to have
Kate buried here beside my mother and brother was entirely mine and entirely
selfish. The Browdys had asked me to help with her funeral arrangements, and
other than the time of the graveside service, this had been my only request. This
way she’d be close to me.
Shade from the
elder tree casts a shadow over them. I stand inside its cover from the sun,
facing the cold memorials. These pieces of granite have no real connection with
the people they were.
Hell, they didn’t
even pick them out. Didn’t see them, yet their names, dates of birth and death
are etched into them as if they’d been owned by those they claim to represent.
Cemeteries—these
stones—aren’t for the dead.
No, they’re for
the living.
My gaze trails
over the Celtic symbols engraved at the center of each one. Identical to the
tattoos inked into my body. Faith. Brotherhood. Hope.
My eyes linger on
Kate’s as they usually do, and the memory of when I’d given her the trinity
heart necklace pours over me.
“It’s the Celtic symbol for hope. Now you’ll always know
where to find it,”
I’d told her.
Damn. I’d given it
to her so she’d think of me whenever she needed me, but really, it was I who needed
her.
I take a deep
breath to hold myself together. I lost everything the day Kate died.
I rake a hand
through my hair and shut my eyes. Out here, away from everyone, I don’t have to
pretend that I have a fucking clue how to live without her.
Out here, it’s just
me.
In front of Kate’s
gravestone, I lower myself to the ground, dropping the flowers at my side. My
chest is empty, yet somehow, it hurts. It’s the same damn thing year after
year—aching to see her smile at me just one more time. One more and I’d be
satisfied, I tell myself.
I know it’s a lie
because one more smile from her would never be enough. I need to touch her, run
my fingers over her warm skin and protect the hell out of her.
But I’m a failure.
I had the power within me, in my blood, to save her, and I failed.
I can barely see
the inches in front of me as I break down. Four years ago, my father sat here
with me and told me the pain would never go away, but it would lessen over
time.
What a load of
bullshit; the pain has only grown.
“I miss you so
damn much, Katie,” I say even though she can’t hear me. And that thought kicks
me in the gut as much as anything. No matter what I say to her now, she’ll
never know any of it.
I slide my
fingertips over her name: Kathryn “Katie” Browdy. Seventeen short years on this
earth and I only had her last months. They were the best months of my life.
I sit with her
until the sun begins to send streaks of gold over the horizon. Even though Kate
would be disappointed, I need to pick up more liquor before I head home. I have
to have something to get me through this pain.
A gust of wind
rustles the dead flowers I left on their graves last week. I scoop them up and
replace them with the fresh ones I brought. Daisies for my mother, some generic
flowers he wouldn’t give a shit about for Liam, and red roses for Kate.
Always red roses
for my Katie.
“Love you, Mom,” I
murmur, fanning out the daisies in the vase beside her headstone.
Then I move onto
Liam’s. “Take care of my girl, man,” I tell him, then I remember how I’d taken
care of his. “But if you touch her, I’ll fucking kill you.”
I squat down and
lay Kate’s roses at the base of her stone. There’s nothing I could say to her
that I haven’t already said a million times. So I settle for the words I
couldn’t say until just before she died. “I love you, baby. I’ll always love
you.”
✯✯Meet d. Nichole King✯✯
 
Since I was born and raised in Iowa, I like to create stories where my home state is the setting. There’s nothing like small-town Midwest scenery to create the perfect backdrop for an amazing tale!

I’ve always loved to read and write. I’ll read anything: Classics, fantasy, contemporary, mystery, horror. It doesn’t matter as long as it draws me in. As a kid, I was raised on authors such as Lurlene McDaniel, R.L. Stine, Danielle Steele, Mary Higgins Clark, Stephen King, and Shakespeare.

Writing-wise, my fondness lies in the YA/NA genre, though I do have a couple of women’s fiction stories swimming around in my head. 

When not writing, I’m usually curled up with a book, scrapbooking, or doing yet another load of laundry.

Along with my incredible husband, I live in small-town Iowa with my four adorable (yet ornery) children and our dog, Peaches.
 
Tour Host
HEA Book Tours PR & More
Book Junky Tours PR & More

Exclusive Interview with D. Nichole King!

Hi, LaDonna! Thanks for having me. 🙂

First and foremost, I have to ask if these stories are based on an experience in your life?

I get asked this question a lot, and many are surprised when I say that the answer is no. When I was younger I was obsessed–I mean OBESSED–with books written by Lurlene McDaniel. So much so that she inspired me to want to become a pediatric oncologist when I grew up. All of my junior high and high school reports were written about a different kind of cancer. When I was 12, I decided to write a book about this girl named Kate. I called it, “Kate’s Diary,” and like “Love Always, Kate,” it had Kate’s diary entries written within the pages. “Kate’s Diary” was her first diary, the one she wrote when she was originally diagnosed. Then life happened, and I put Kate away. I went to college still dreaming of medical school until organic chemistry kicked my butt. More life happened: I got married, had kids, bought a house. It wasn’t until after my third child was born that I started to write again, and when I did, I didn’t immediately pick up Kate. But when I did, I realized that as I’d grown up, so had she. And she was even stronger than before.These books are some of the most emotional stories I have ever read. I know some authors love making their readers cry. Is this a goal for you?

LOL!! Someone is going to come after me with a pitchfork for this, but yes. I love emotional reads. If a book can make me cry, it’s golden. It means I got so absorbed, so attached to the characters that they became real for me. That’s what I want for my readers–for the characters to come alive.One of the things I adored in Love Always, Kate was the song Damian wrote. I was curious if the music was just one of those painful reminders or if there was another reason there was no mention of his musical talents in Love Always, Damian?

I think that eventually Damian did go back to music. But at the end of Love Always, Kate, the song he wrote for her was played at her funeral. At that point, music became too painful for him. His guitar became a reminder of Kate, of what he lost. Instead of throwing himself into music, he moved back onto his self-destructive path he’d been on before Kate.Speaking of music, do you have a playlist of songs that you relate to these books?

Will we get to revisit Damian’s life down the road?

I am undecided on this at the moment. For me, this story just needs to settle for a little while.What can we look for next from you?

I have a top secret anthology project coming out in July. Hopefully I’ll get the go ahead to start shouting it from the rooftops soon, but all I can say right now is that it’s going to be awesome! Then later this year I’ll be releasing the final book of the “Spirit Trilogy”, which is my YA urban fantasy series.Do you have a Facebook fanpage? Group or street team? Twitter? Blog? Any other ways for readers to follow you through social media?

Totally! And I try really hard to be active on all of them, so please feel free to contact me!
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authordnicholeking
Twitter: @dnicholeking
Website/blog: http://www.dnicholeking.com/
Monthly newsletter: http://eepurl.com/-CsJD
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7762889.D_Nichole_King What would you like readers to take away from your books? If there was only one thing they were to remember and hold on to, what would it be?

There’s always hope.The stars never stop shining, but we only see them at night. The same holds true with us. It often takes the darkest moments in our lives before we can glimpse the most beautiful light. And it’s in that place, that instant, where hope is born. ~Kate Browdy


My Review:

First, my review of Love Always, Kate – the first book in this series.  I highly recommend picking it up first, and I see that it is currently free on Amazon.   Go grab it now!

I knew this wouldn’t be an easy read, but I was very drawn to it regardless. Absolutely beautifully written story of cancer, love and loss.

This is Kate’s story, starting at age 16 when she is told she is no longer in remission from ALL, the form of leukemia she has been fighting since she was 11. Much of the book is her diary entries, a process she started with her first round of chemo. This being her third go around she knows all about what she is in for physically, and the look inside her soul is heart wrenchingly realistic. You will feel her hopes and her fears, her joys and heartbreak, her feelings of invisibility, and her acceptance.

Damian Lowell is the handsome son of her oncologist, 18 years old, and troubled. Forced to volunteer on the pediatric cancer floor because of his outrageous behavior since the death of his mother and older brother in a car accident two years earlier. In many ways this story is his as much as it is Kate’s. I couldn’t always understand his behavior, and certainly couldn’t condone it for many reasons, but it is also told in a real and soulful way.

I can’t remember when, if ever, a book has made me cry as much as this one did. At times I had to stop for a minute or two because my vision was so clouded by tears the words were too blurry to read. But in spite of it all, it is a beautiful story. I vow to find the beauty and hope in sunrises now.

Love Always, Damian

Grab your tissues, lots of tissues and settle in with this 5 star follow up to the heart wrenchingly beautiful Love Always, Kate.

Four years later, we catch up with Damian to see where he is at now.   I will admit I had mixed feeling about Damian due to some of his self destructive behaviors we saw in Love Always, Kate and more so in Eight Days.  But, bottom line was always that I was so in love with Kate’s story there was no way I was going to miss out on Damian’s.

When we first catch up with the youngest Mr. Lowell, it is hard to say that much has changed, although I was immediately rather proud that he was giving college, well, a college try.   And I didn’t make it through the first chapter without tears.  And the tears just didn’t stop.   The author should by stock in Kleenex because I don’t cry at books, and I went through almost 2 boxes on this book.   But it is a beautiful cry.

Damian has not been able to achieve the last request on Kate’s wish list for him – to let her go.  His sorrow and loss are so profound in this book.  This doesn’t mean he sits quietly and mourns, his self destructive tendencies are still quite pronounced, but his visits to the cemetery are heartfelt and extremely moving.   The author has done the most excellent job in drawing us into his despair.

And then comes the blast from his past.   I am the first to admit that I did not embrace Elle in the first book and novella.  I didn’t love her any more as we first met up with her again, but I could kind of understand why she had chosen to keep her bombshell from him.   She grew on me as the book goes on, and certainly Lia captured my heart as quickly as she captured Damian’s, whether he was willing to admit that she had or not.

I feel I have jumped into spoiler territory too far already, but this series is a must read, including the novella Eight Days that I had pretty negative feelings on the first time I read it.  Those feelings all changed after reading Love Always, Damian.   It is an excellent tie in.   The author describes it as that extra layer of icing in the middle of a cake, not absolutely necessary, but definitely an added bonus.   So grab the tissues – that point I can not stress enough, even if you think a book can’t make you cry – and curl up and enjoy this tale of love, loss, and what comes after.

I did receive a complimentary advanced copy of this book for review purposes, but am purchasing as I would have anyway.   It is well worth the read.  For mature audience only for explicit sexual content.


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