Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Release Day Blitz: Lead Me Not by A. Meredith Walters

In this dangerously sexy novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Find You in the Dark, a straight-laced college student meets a handsome but enigmatic stranger who lures her into an underground club scene, where she finds it difficult to resist temptation 

Aubrey Duncan understands loss. She knows what rock bottom looks like, and she is determined to crawl back up to the top after the sudden death of her younger sister. She blames herself for her part in the tragedy, convinced that she could have done something, anything, to help her.

In her effort to gain redemption, Aubrey starts fresh at Longwood University and facilitates an addiction support group, hoping she can support someone else in the way she failed her sister. But what she doesn’t count on is an all-consuming fascination with group member Maxx Demelo, a gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed enigma who hides dark secrets behind a carefully constructed mask. He only reveals what he wants others to see. But Aubrey glimpses another Maxx hidden below the surface—a Maxx who is drowning in his own personal hell.

As Aubrey and Maxx develop an attraction too intense to ignore, he pulls her into the dark underbelly of the city club scene, where she is torn by her desire to save him and an inexplicable urge to join him in his downward spiral. Worst of all, she is beginning to love everything she should run away from—a man who threatens to ignite in her a fire that could burn her alive…
When I finished reading Lead Me Not I was a mess. Aubrey and Maxx's story evoked so many emotions in me. This book, their story, I just can't even begin to put into words how I feel about it. I think it touched me on a personal level because there are some aspects of their story that I have lived. The author did such an amazing job of perfectly portraying how tightly the hold drugs have on an addict. How quick they are to deny that they have a problem. And how those that love them tend to play the role of enabler, whether they intend to or not. 

Aubrey is someone who needs to fix those around her. It comes from an honest place due to an event from her past. But the thing is, while she is trying to piece everyone else back together she is neglecting herself. I was so torn when it came to her relationship with Maxx. Her feelings for him were overpowering her sense of right and wrong. She knew what was happening with him but she kept choosing to ignore what was right in front of her. 

Maxx's feelings for Aubrey are so real that you can feel the emotions bleeding through the pages. But the hold his mistress has on him is just as strong. I could feel the lure of her forever calling in the back of his head, even in the moments that his love for Aubrey should have silenced it. My heart ached for the conflict he felt. But at the same time, I was angry at the choices he was making and for the way he kept pulling Aubrey back in. He knew what he was doing was unfair to her but he was so consumed by the drugs and his feelings for Aubrey, he blocked everything else out.

To say this book was a roller coaster of emotions is an understatement. I was drained by the end. I went through every feeling imaginable while reading from anger to sadness to happiness to fear. I felt my heart physically hurting because I knew love was not enough for Maxx and Aubrey. Their relationship is toxic for both if them and the only hope of the cycle being broken lies with Aubrey. Is she strong enough to walk away? 

This book ends on a "to be continued" note. Normally, this might bother me but honestly, I needed the break. As much as I love these two characters, their story is a tough one. I can't wait to see where Aubrey and Maxx's story takes them in the next book, but I truly hope it is to a place where they can find themselves together again, in a healthier place.
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I stared harder at the picture, uncomfortable with the odd sense of familiarity I felt. Looking at the woman's graceful yet agonized form, I felt as though I should recognize her.

Bothered by my increasing disquiet, I stood up and walked closer. This was not your typical campus painting of daffodils and laughing students. I had seen this particular kind of art several times before. I leaned in to try to see the details in the poor lighting. And there it was- the tiny patterns on the woman's dress composed of dozens of Xs.

I didn't notice any numbers or words in this picture, though, so I didn't understand what its intent was. It was my understanding that X's paintings held the clues to the location of the club, Compulsion. But this picture seemed to have nothing to do with that.

This was a painting created for some other purpose.

"So what do you think?" 

I looked over my shoulder to find Maxx standing behind me. I turned back to the picture, not bothering to answer him. The truth was, my outburst in the group had left me feeling raw and vulnerable, and seeing him so soon after making a gigantic ass of myself was embarrassing.

As he came up beside me, the sleeves of our jackets brushed against each other. Maxx inclined his head toward the painting and asked me again, "Well, what do you think of it?"

I shrugged, not really in the mood for small talk. My pounding head couldn't handle a go-around with the group Romeo. I started to walk away from him when he grabbed hold of my arm.

"Wait, Aubrey. Please." It was that word that did it. Please. It was uttered softly and sincerely. And it held me as fast and surely as if he had put his arms around me.

Amazon: Lead Me Not
The New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of Contemporary and Paranormal romance including The Find You in the Dark and Bad Rep series as well as the upcoming stand alone romance, Reclaiming the Sand, and a dark new adult series for Gallery Books.

A. Meredith spent ten years as a counselor for at risk teens and children. First working at a Domestic Violence/Sexual Assault program and then later a program for children with severe emotional and mental health issues. Her former clients and their stories continue to influence every aspect of her writing.

When not writing (or being tortured with all manner of beauty products at the hand of her very imaginative and extremely girly daughter), she is eating chocolate, watching reality television that could rot your brain and reading a smutty novel or two.

A. Meredith is represented by Michelle Johnson with the Inklings Literary Agency.


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