Title: A Broken Soul
Author: Jessica Prince
Series: Pembrooke #3
Release Date: February 20, 2017
He’s terrified of loving her.
Quinn Mallick already had his happily-ever-after, and in the blink of an eye it was ripped away from him. Now he’s content to walk through the rest of his life carrying the weight of that guilt on his shoulders. He’s convinced he doesn’t deserve a second chance. But when the town’s beautiful dance teacher turns her sights on him he finds himself questioning everything.
She’s terrified of losing him.
Lilly Mathewson’s once quiet, predictable life has been turned on its head. Feeling alone and adrift, she finds her comfort in the most unexpected of places. Falling for the town widower was never part of the plan, but there is just something about the temperamental man she can’t seem to let go of.
What started as two grieving people leaning on each other has quickly turned into something neither of them expected. Lilly is ready to take the next step, but how do you move forward when the man you love refuses to let go of the past?
He has a broken soul. She has a broken heart. And the only way for them to heal is if they do it together.
Jessica Prince delivers what is undoubtedly one of my favorite books this year with Quinn and Lilly’s story in A Broken Soul. Powerful, gut wrenching, and devastatingly honest, A Broken Soul overflows with the kind of emotion that lingers long after the final page has been turned. Both struggling with loss and desperate to protect their hearts from further damage, Quinn and Lilly made for an inimitable pair. The pain and heartache they brought into the relationship made for plenty of angst, but it also leant itself to some exquisite moments of healing. A Broken Soul was one of those novels that tore at me, leaving me raw to every bit of Lilly and Quinn’s story and ensuring that I felt their journey all the way through. As always, Jessica Prince perfectly captures the feeling of family that I’ve come to love from the Pembrooke series with the inclusion of some familiar faces. I adored being able to see Eliza and Ethan settled into their happily ever after, along with more of Chloe and Derrick. With the help of their friends and family, Quinn and Lilly developed their undeniable connection into something deeply significant, making my heart flutter and falter and, when paired with their unavoidable chemistry, setting the pages of A Broken Soul on fire.
“But what’s the point if he’s content to just hold on to that struggle for the rest of his life?”
As far as heroes go, Quinn is one of the most heartbreaking I’ve read in a while. From the very first page Jessica Prince had me in tatters, my heart shredded by the loss Quinn had faced and the reality of what he would be forced to tackle in the future as a single father. Plagued by overwhelming guilt and haunted by the love he had lost so unexpectedly, Quinn had a hard time opening himself up. Jessica Prince did an incredible job balancing this character’s crippling grief with the moments of reprieve he found with Lilly. All of Quinn’s darkness made each shining moment of hope absolutely sparkle and I found myself falling hard for this character in those instances between the shadows. Admittedly, there were times when I wanted to scream at Quinn to appreciate what was right in front of him – to hold onto Lilly and never let go – but his inability to move forward without first forgiving himself was so raw, genuine and absolutely necessary to the kind of man Quinn was that in the end it made his personal journey that much sweeter.
“Come escape with me for a little while.”
Lilly was a heroine after my own heart. While I adored her sunny disposition and kind spirit, it was her ability to use music and dance as a way to escape her pain that made her someone I could easily relate to. The relationship she had with her father just about ripped me apart while her navigation of Quinn’s grief and the ease with which her life fit into his had me riding a serious emotional rollercoaster. I loved getting to know both the sweet, easy going woman who loved her friends fiercely and opened her heart to Sophia and Quinn with grace and understanding and the broken girl who wasn’t ready to deal with losing a piece of her family. Lilly was smart, strong and easy to love. Jessica Prince did a phenomenal job unraveling this complicated woman. I fell hard for Lilly as she fought for the people she cared about and the love she so richly deserved. The author exposed Lilly’s insecurities and fears in a way that made her feel incredibly genuine while also repeatedly demonstrating the true strength of her character and her immense capacity for love.
“I wanted nothing more than to lower my walls and allow her to heal my broken soul. But I didn’t deserve that. I didn’t deserve her.”
Feelings. So many freaking feelings. Jessica Prince doesn’t pull any punches with Quinn and Lilly’s story, hitting readers with a tsunami of emotions that ensures that A Broken Soul is one heck of an unforgettable journey. Unable to stop reading until I’d devoured the entire novel, I laughed, cried, hoped and fell in love right alongside Quinn and Lilly. It’s been a while since I’ve had a good ugly cry but this book did me in. Caught up in Quinn’s grief and Lilly’s impending loss, I sobbed as my heart ached and broke for all that this couple had to endure. Not only did Jessica Prince tug on my heartstrings with expert precision, but she also perfectly balanced all of the angst with plenty of steam and some delightfully sweet moments that left me absolutely swooning. With each new novel from this author I find myself even more blown away by her incredible talent. A Broken Soul is vibrant, honest and incredibly touching – the kind of story that’s easy to connect with and impossible to put down. Jessica Prince undeniably has another winner on her hands with Quinn and Lilly’s must read journey!
“So what about you? Have you always wanted to dance?”
Her voice went soft, her expression wistful. “Yeah. I’ve been dancing since I was about eight. I started a little later than most, but once my mom put me in classes, I was hooked.”
“You’re amazing,” I found myself admitting. “Why didn’t you go to New York or something like that?”
Her face flushed, and something told me it wasn’t from the wine this time. “You’ve seen me dance?”
“Yeah. Last week. I was getting in my truck after grabbing a coffee. The blinds to the studio were open and you were in there by yourself.” I stopped, thinking back to the sadness on her face that morning. “You were…”
“Crying,” she whispered, and although she still wore a smile, I could see the sadness had returned. “Yeah. You kind of caught me on a bad day.”
Suddenly I was aware of what I must have been putting my loved ones through, because even though I knew it wasn’t fair, I wanted to push her to talk about whatever was bothering her. Instead, I ignored that curious niggling in my gut and said, “You know, I might not be as good a listener as you are, but if you ever need to talk…”
“Thanks,” she smiled. “It’s okay. I’m okay. I just got some bad news the day before.” She stopped long enough to inhale deeply before she continued. “My dad’s sick. Cancer. I found out about it the day before.”
“Christ,” I hissed. “Lilly, I’m so sorry.”
“It’s all right. I was struggling with how to cope, you know? I couldn’t imagine…” Her voice cracked and her throat moved as she swallowed. “I still can’t imagine not having him, and knowing he’s going to die… it really fucking sucks.” When she let out a self-deprecating laugh, it took everything I had not to jump across the table and wrap my arms around her. I’d never felt more out of my element with a person before, yet, at the same time, I could relate to her better than most.
“I went down to the studio before it opened and put on the music and just… escaped for a little while. I’ve always used dancing as a way to escape. When I was little, I had trouble in school. I’m dyslexic and it took a while for the doctors to be able to diagnose it. I know it’s not really a big deal, but when you’re in elementary school and have trouble reading, well, let’s just say the kids can be real assholes.
“My mom enrolled me in dance classes and I discovered that when I was moving, when the music was playing, all the mean things those kids said about me just… disappeared. It was my escape, to this day it still is. So, to answer your question, that’s why I never wanted to pursue something like New York. It might sound weird, but what I do now, when I dance, even when I teach my kids, it’s all for me. If I tried to join a company, everything I did would be for them. Doing what I do now, I don’t have to answer to anybody. I don’t have to worry about the routines becoming monotonous. I get to leave my head for a while and not worry about the outcome. Does that make any sense?”
I hardly recognized my voice, the sound rougher, almost jagged as I said, “It makes perfect sense.” I had no clue what was coming over me, why I was reacting the way I was, but I couldn’t stand to see that heartache in her eyes any longer. Standing from my place on the floor, I held my hand out to her. “Come on. I want to watch you dance.”
“What? Now?” she asked incredulously. “You want to watch me dance right now?”
I gave a casual shrug and let my lips curl up in a grin. “Why not? You got other plans at the moment?”
“Well… no, but—”
“Perfect, so nothing’s stopping you.” She didn’t seem convinced, and for reasons beyond my comprehension, I wanted nothing more than to see this gorgeous woman dance. So, I pushed.
“Come escape with me for a little while.”
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Don’t miss the rest of the series:
Sweet Sunshine (Pembrooke #1)
Coming Full Circle (Pembrooke #2)
Born and raised around Houston Texas, Jessica spent most of her life complaining about the heat, humidity, and all around pain in the ass weather. It was only as an adult that she quickly realized the cost of living in Houston made up for not being able to breathe when she stepped outside. That’s why God created central air, after all.
In addition to being a wife and mom, she’s also a wino, a coffee addict, and an avid lover of all types of books–romances still being her all time favs. Her husband likes to claim that reading is her obsession but she just says it’s a passion…there’s a difference. Not that she’d expect a boy to understand.
Jessica has been writing since she was a little girl, but thankfully grew out of drawing her own pictures for her stories before ever publishing her first book. Because an artist she is not.