Author: L.L. Collins
Series: Jaded Regret #3
Release Date: June 16, 2016
Tanner Hart, the All-American bad boy bass guitarist of Jaded Regret, has one motto— play women’s bodies like he does the strings of his guitar— hard, in tune, and giving it his all until the show is over. The only strings he wants attached to him are the ones he plays on the stage.
He has quite the reputation, even with his own band, and he likes it that way. It keeps the truth of who he really is locked deep inside. But there’s so much more to him than anyone really knows…
Now that he’s successful, he can afford to find out what really happened to the only girl who’s ever held his heart. The only thing is…will he really want to know the truth?
When Mackenzie Shepard finds herself in a situation she’s been in too many times before, she expects to do what she’s always done— cover it up, accept the apologies, and move on. She knows trying to get out is futile. What she doesn’t expect is for the world famous Tanner Hart to burst into her life like a knight in sexy armor.
When their lives collide and hearts get involved, can Tanner keep his hartstrings from being tangled up in his past, or can he make a new kind of music… with his heart?
Hartstrings might just be L.L. Collins’ most emotionally tumultuous story yet! Tanner and MacKenzie took me by surprise, their angst-ridden journey an unexpected exploration of self-worth, trust, and salvation. This book absolutely gutted me, forcing me to feel the tragedies of MacKenzie and Tanner’s lives deep down in my soul. L.L. Collins’ writing is spot on and overwhelming, perfectly capturing the anguish and reprieve found throughout this novel. Tanner and Mac’s immediate connection was unexpected and yet somehow so incredibly right. From the moment they met I could feel their magnetic pull, an undeniable recognition of shared pain between their souls that was heady and powerful. L.L. Collins slowly nurtures the sparks between Tanner and MacKenzie, allowing them to build in their own time into something electric and mesmerizing. As with each novel in this series, Hartstrings carries the weight of some very difficult topics, giving Tanner and MacKenzie’s story an emotional significance that blew me away. Their journey is heart wrenching, unforgettable, and simply stunning – a beautifully broken tale that left me breathless.
“Tanner turned my entire world upside down the second he burst into our hotel room and became the only knight in sexy armor I’d ever known.”
Tanner stole my heart in the most surprising way. While I knew his player persona masked some sort of past pain, I never could have imagined the heartache L.L. Collins had in store for this character. His family history, personal loss, and the beautiful respite he found in his music came together to paint a stunning picture of a complicated and utterly heartbroken man. I loved the way Tanner’s relationship with MacKenzie altered him over the course of the story. Not only did we see growth of this character as an individual, but Tanner’s relationships with the rest of the band also flourished in light of his newfound emotional transparency and sense of purpose. The pieces of Tanner’s past that we get to experience also helped shape this character, giving him significant depth and allowing me to understand his true character in a way I wouldn’t have guessed. L.L. Collins unraveled Tanner so completely, allowing him to be vulnerable and raw. It was this gut wrenching honesty, coupled with Tanner’s fierce protectiveness and unwavering loyalty towards MacKenzie that marked me deeply and irrevocably.
“You’re mine now. I protect what’s mine.”
As for MacKenzie, L.L. Collins could have just ripped my heart out and tossed it in a blender and it probably would have been less painful. At times this character was emotionally devastating and yet she exuded a light that was brilliantly hopeful. Her life was an unending nightmare and I found myself shedding tears for her on more than one occasion. When Tanner’s world collides with hers there is a palpable shift. She grows in boldness and strength, eventually becoming more than a victim of her circumstances. I absolutely adored the care and grace with which L.L. Collins developed this character. Her transformation was genuinely portrayed, a mixture of trials and triumph that was perfectly breathtaking. I felt each of MacKenzie’s emotions rip through me, leaving behind pieces of this character that I couldn’t help but connect with. Written to be hesitant and insecure, a product of the life she’d been forced to lead, MacKenzie was the kind of heroine you can’t help but root for. I reveled in the moments of adorable flirtation and sassy banter that she shared with Tanner, glimpses into the healing woman who quietly won over my heart with each passing page.
“I didn’t truly know what love felt like until right this second. It was like being hit by a train at full speed but loving every second of it.”
Hartstrings was well paced, keeping me riveted to the story and desperate for more. L.L. Collins kept me on my toes with this twisting storyline. Just when I thought I had things figured out, another unexpected truth would come to light, throwing me for a loop and leaving my head and heart reeling. As always, L.L. Collins brings Tanner and MacKenzie’s story to life with the help of the rest of Jaded Regret and a handful of other secondary characters. The feeling of family that L.L. Collins has so expertly cultivated with this series is as strong as ever, giving Hartstrings a sense of comfortable familiarity that is incredibly satisfying. Despite the darkness and never-ending heartache, this novel overflows with hope and love. I found myself smiling at the most unexpected moments, the seriousness of the story perfectly balanced by the characters’ ready wit and flirtatious banter. L.L. Collins has truly outdone herself with this novel. Her writing absolutely shines, a potent cocktail of vibrant imagery, raw emotion, and heartfelt characters that left me drunk on Hartstrings. I can’t wait to see what L.L. Collins has in store for the next Jaded Regret novel.
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Don’t miss the rest of the Jaded Regret series:
Sentenced (Jaded Regret #1)
Snared (Jaded Regret #2)
Exposed (Jaded Regret #4)
L.L. Collins loves spending her days in the Florida sun with her husband and two boys, reading, and writing. LL has been writing since she was old enough to write. Always a story in her head, she finally decided to let the characters out made her lifelong dream of becoming an author come true in the self-publishing world. She’s the author of the Living Again Series and the Twisted Series, plus a new standalone, Back to the Drawing Board. Visit LL on her website, http://www.llcollinsauthor.com and on all social media. Look for more of her emotionally charged novels soon!