Author: J.B. Salsbury
Release Date: November 15, 2016
What do you do when you wake up with no memory of what you did last night?
Lucas spent the first half of his life protecting himself from others, but now his own mind is his biggest enemy. He doesn’t know what happens when the blackouts overtake him, but he can recall the feelings—the rage, the confusion, the fear. Thankfully the quiet life he’s found in Payson, Arizona has kept the darkness at bay. Until his boss’s estranged daughter shows up in town, asking questions she shouldn’t and sparking a desire Lucas can’t control. Getting close to Shyann is the best thing that’s ever happened to him, but when his blackouts return, unleashing the truth he’s battled so long to hide, he may just lose her forever . . .
Every once in a while a book comes along that completely blows you away with its unique storyline, intriguing plot twists, captivating characters, and emotions so gritty and raw that you feel them in the darkest recesses of your soul. Split is that book. J.B. Salsbury delivers something fiercely original, unapologetically real, and achingly insightful with Lucas and Shyann’s story. This couple was unlike any I’ve encountered before. Their shared pain broke my heart in ways I couldn’t have imagined and yet J.B. Salsbury maintained a flicker of hope between them that had me holding out for the full-blown flame they were so obviously destined for. Seemingly opposite in their personalities, Shyann and Lucas proved to be the perfect pair. Where Lucas grounded Shyann, she opened him up to the world around him. Their adorable banter, sweet flirtations, and heartfelt honesty had me rooting for this couple and kept me hooked on their story until the very last page.
“The man barely speaks, seems close to terrified in benign situations, and he creates masterpieces with his hands. It’s official. I’m intrigued.”
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how much I would like Shyann in the beginning. She was single-minded in her pursuit of a successful career and selfish to the point of being somewhat unfeeling towards others. However J.B. Salsbury quickly changed my mind, unraveling this character to reveal a softer, more vulnerable side that quickly won me over. With Lucas, Shyann became someone else. She was patient, understanding, sympathetic, and unfailingly kind – while still maintaining that fiercely independent and delightfully feisty attitude that made me grin. Over the course of this novel, J.B. Salsbury grew this heroine into a protective, loyal, and loving woman that was surprisingly easy to connect with and invest in. Shyann not only proved to be a study in public perception and self-acceptance, but by the end of the story she had become a shining example of the lengths to which we go to defend love.
“I don’t deserve you, but I’m going to keep you.”
I’m not even sure where to begin with Lucas. Without giving anything away, Lucas redefines the term “complex character.” I was smitten with the quiet, polite and artistic man we first got to know, but as the story progressed this character become something so much more. With each layer J.B. Salsbury exposed, I found myself more and more intrigued by this character. He was an enigma with an inexplicable pull, begging me to keep reading. For every piece of Lucas that was sweet and soft, there was a dark and dangerous facet that captivated me. This character quickly proved to be an unbelievable contradiction and each side of him held me hostage in its own way. I absolutely loved watching Lucas’ dichotomous nature play out and the internal war being waged was equal parts fascinating and terrifying. J.B. Salsbury has seriously outdone herself with Lucas, ensnaring readers with a male lead that was both light and dark, lover and fighter, hero and villain.
“I’m yours. From here on out, nothing will touch you. I’ll never let anyone hurt you.”
I’ll admit I was nervous to read something new from this author. As a huge fan of her Fighting series, I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was quickly set at ease. While Split is a far cry from her previous novels, J.B. Salsbury’s storytelling, world building and character development are better than ever. Split moves a bit more slowly, driven not by heart-pounding action but by the individual evolutions of the main characters. However, J.B.’s vibrant imagery and gripping emotions brought this story to life and kept me wholly enthralled by Lucas and Shyann’s journey. While absolutely unconventional, Split managed to capture not only the extent to which man can be broken but also the unparalleled human capacity for love in a way that was equal parts gut wrenching and utterly breathtaking. Destined to stay with you long after the final page has been turned, J.B. Salsbury delivers something undeniably special with Split.
First, let me just say, WHOA! I’ve gotten so used to J.B. Salsbury’s Fighting boys that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when she announced that she’d be writing a standalone that had nothing to do with getting in the ring. I’ll be the first to admit that I was a bit apprehensive to dive into Split, and now that I’ve finished it, I can honestly say that this woman can produce anything. Her writing proved to be fierce and bold no matter what the subject matter. Split blew me away in so many ways that I’m not even sure I have the words to appropriately express my adoration.
“I just…I can’t face the man with the scarred neck and the broken soul.”
What took me by complete and utter surprise was the incredible dimensionality of the characters in this book. Shyann was a girl who always thought she knew what she wanted, yet ended up needing something completely different. The connection with her mom hit me in some really sensitive places and there were so many times that I just wanted to wrap her in a hug. Yet, in true Salsbury fashion, Shyann was also strong and determined to follow her ever-changing heart. Then you have the beyond complex hero, a man I never expected to shine with the complications he harbored. The way that the author wrote this man who was soft, yet hard; who was meek, but protective; who was gentle, but rough, was beyond fascinating. He was an onion that needed the layers peeled back one by one and I could not get enough. These two characters felt like two broken puzzle pieces that fit together, and I couldn’t imagine it going any other way.
“There are hearts big enough to love those who are different than them, who are hard to understand. And I, by some freak accident, found her.”
I’ve read just about everything that this author has released, yet with each new book, I’ve had the privilege of watching her grow and finesse her style. With the publication of Split, I’ve seen a side of her that I never would have imagined existed – the complete opposite of everything bubbly and vivacious that I’ve come to know from her. Split contained a darkness and harsh reality that took me by complete surprise in the best way possible. J.B. Salsbury clearly has a deep well of talent that we’ve barely even touched the surface of, and I can’t wait to see where she will go next. Split will take readers on a surprising journey of love and loss, life and forgiveness. This book was a phenomenally breathtaking ride from beginning to end, and I loved every single thrilling second of it!
“You can’t jump.”
She narrows her eyes on me. “Of course I can.”
“Is it safe?”
My grip on her grows tighter and she steps close enough that I can feel the heat of her breasts brush against my ribs. “Lucas, do you trust me?”
“No.” The word comes out on a shaky whisper.
A gentle grin softens her face and with both her hands she works to relax my hold enough for her to slip free. Seconds later she turns, takes four long strides, and disappears off the rock cliff.
A holler that can only be described as guttural exhilaration echoes off the canyon walls and slices through the trees.
I race to the edge and there’s nothing but a circle of white bubbles marring the once shimmering pond.
I wait for her to surface, and just when I’m about to jump in and rescue her, her head pops up out of the water with a feral howl.
“That was amazing!” She waves at me. “The water is perfect!”
With adrenaline coursing through my veins, I allow myself a moment to wonder what it would be like to be as free as Shyann. Everything I do is weighed against the danger of doing it. The threat of blacking out always pulling me back to walk the safer, less risky side of any situation. But something about her makes me want to try harder, makes me want to take a risk like other twenty-five-year-old guys. The sound of her squealing lights a fire in my chest that has me wanting to jump.
Risking a blackout might be worth the few seconds of euphoria I haven’t felt since…I can’t remember.
I think of backing away and yelling for her to meet me at the truck, but something pulls me toward her. Part of me wonders if it’s nothing more than wanting to be close, to keep her safe, because she belongs to Mr. Jennings and I owe him. But even as the thought enters my mind, so does another.
I want her to like me.
I want her to see me as brave.
I want to know what it’s like to be normal.
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A Perfectly Split Christmas
New York Times bestselling author JB Salsbury spends her days lost in a world of budding romance and impossible obstacles. Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. Since 2013 she has published six bestselling novels in The Fighting Series and won a RONE Award. JB Salsbury lives with her husband and two kids in Phoenix, Arizona.