Friday, June 15, 2018

A Wish for Us by Tillie Cole Blog Tour

From the author who brought you A Thousand Boy Kisses comes the new emotional novel, A Wish for Us.

A story of music.
A story of healing.
A story of love conquering all.

Nineteen-year-old Cromwell Dean is the rising star of electronic dance music. Thousands of people adore him. But no one knows him. No one sees the color of his heart.

Until the girl in the purple dress. She sees through the walls he has built to the empty darkness within.

When Cromwell leaves behind the gray skies of England to study music in the South Carolina heat, the last thing he expects is to see her again. And he certainly doesn’t expect that she’ll stay in his head like a song on repeat.

Bonnie Farraday lives for music. She lets every note into her heart, and she doesn’t understand how someone as talented as Cromwell can avoid doing the same. He’s hiding from his past, and she knows it. She tries to stay away from him, but something keeps calling her back.

Bonnie is the burst of color in Cromwell’s darkness. He’s the beat that makes her heart skip.

But when a shadow falls over Bonnie, it’s up to Cromwell to be her light, in the only way he knows how. He must help her find the lost song in her fragile heart. He must keep her strong with a symphony only he can compose.

A symphony of hope.
A symphony of love.
A symphony of them.

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I let the rush of nicotine fill my lungs and closed my eyes. As my eyelids shut, I heard quiet music playing somewhere nearby. Classical. Mozart.

My drunken mind immediately drifted off to when I was a little kid...

“What do you hear, Cromwell?” my father asked.

I closed my eyes and listened to the piece of music. Colors danced before my eyes. “Piano. Violins. Cellos...” I took a deep breath. “I can hear reds and greens and pinks.”

I opened my eyes and looked up at my father as he sat on my bed. He was staring down at me. There was a funny expression on his face. “You hear colors?” he said. But he didn’t sound surprised. My face set on fire. I ducked my head under my duvet. My father pulled it down from my eyes. He stroked my hair. “That’s good,” he said, his voice kind of deep. “That’s very good...”

My eyes snapped open. My hand started to ache. I looked at the bottle in my hand; my fingers were white as they gripped the neck. I sat up, my head spinning from the mass of whiskey in my body. My temples throbbed. I realized it wasn’t from the Jack, but from the music coming from further down the beach. I pushed my hair back from my face then looked to my right.

Someone was only a few feet away. I squinted into the lightening night, summer’s early rising sun making it possible to make out the features of whoever the hell it was. It was a girl. A girl wrapped in a blanket. Her phone sat beside her, a Mozart piano concerto drifting quietly from the speaker.

She must have felt me looking at her, because she turned her head. I frowned, wondering why I knew her face, but then—

“You’re the DJ,” she said.

Recognition dawned. It was the girl in the purple dress.

She clutched her blanket closer around her as I replayed her accent in my head. American. Bible Belt was my guess, by her thick twang.

She sounded like my mum.

A smile tugged at her lips as I stayed mute. I wasn’t much of a talker. Especially when my gut was full of Jack and I had zero interest in making small talk with some girl I didn’t know at four in the morning on a cold beach in Brighton.

“I’d heard of you,” she said. I stared back out over the sea. Ships sailed in the distance, their lights like tiny fireflies, bobbing up and down. I huffed a humorless laugh. Great. Another girl who wanted to screw the DJ.

“Good for you,” I muttered and took a drink of my Jack, feeling the addictive burn slide down my throat. I hoped she’d piss off, or at least stop trying to talk to me. My head couldn’t take any more noise.

“Not really,” she shot back. I looked over at her, eyebrows pulled down in confusion. She was looking out over the sea, her chin resting on her folded arms that lay over her bent knees. The blanket had fallen off her shoulders, revealing the purple dress I’d noticed from the podium. She turned to face me, cheek now on her arms. Heat zipped through me. She was pretty. “I’ve heard of you, Cromwell Dean.” She shrugged. “Decided to get a ticket to see you before I left for home tomorrow.”

I lit up another cigarette. Her nose wrinkled. She clearly didn’t like the smell.

Tough luck. She could move. Last time I checked, England was a free country. She went quiet.

I caught her looking at me. Her brown eyes were narrowed, like she was scrutinizing me. Reading something in me that I didn’t want anyone to see.

No one ever looked at me closely. I never gave them the chance. I thrived on the podium at clubs because it kept everyone far away, down on the dancefloor where no one ever saw the real me. The way she was looking at me now made nervous shivers break out over my skin.

I didn’t need this kind of crap.

“Already had my dick sucked tonight, love. Not looking for a second round.”

She blinked, and even in the rising sun, I could see her cheeks redden.

“Your music has no soul,” she blurted. My cigarette paused halfway to my mouth. Something managed to stab through my stomach at her words. I shoved it back down until I felt my usual sensation of numbness.

I sucked on my cigarette. “Yeah? Well, them’s the breaks.”

“I’d heard you were some messiah or something on that podium. But all your music comprised was synthetic beats and forced repetitive bursts of unoriginal tempo.”

I laughed and shook my head. The girl met my eyes head-on. “It’s called electronic dance music. Not a fifty-piece orchestra.” I held out my arms. “You’ve heard of me. Said so yourself. You know what tunes I spin. What were you expecting? Mozart?” I glared at her phone, which was still playing that damn concerto.

I sat back, surprised at myself. I hadn’t talked that much to anyone in... I didn’t know how long. I took in a drag, breathing out the smoke that was trapped in my chest. “And turn that thing off, will you? Who the hell goes to hear a dance DJ spin, then comes to a beach to listen to classical music?”

The girl frowned but turned off the music. I lay back on the cold sand, closing my eyes. I heard the soft waves lapping the shore. My head filled with pale green. I heard the girl moving. I prayed she was leaving. But I felt her drop beside me. My world darkened as the whiskey and the usual lack of sleep started to pull me under.

“What do you feel when you mix your music?” she asked. How the hell she thought her little interview was a good idea right now was beyond me.

Yet, surprisingly, I found myself answering her question. “I don’t feel.” I cracked one eye open when she didn’t say anything. She was looking down at me. She had the biggest brown eyes I’d ever seen. Dark hair pulled off her face in a ponytail. Full lips and smooth skin.

“Then that’s the problem.” She smiled, but the smile looked nothing but sad. Pitying. “The best music must be felt. By the creator. By the listener. Every part of it from creation to ear must be wrapped in nothing but feelings.” Some weird expression crossed over her face, but hell if I knew what it meant.

Her words were a blade to my chest. I hadn’t expected her harsh comment. And I hadn’t expected the blunt trauma that she seemed to deliver right to my heart. Like she’d taken a butcher’s knife and sliced her way through my soul.

My body itched to get up and run. To pluck out her assessment of my music from my memory. But instead I forced a laugh, and spat, “Go back home, little Dorothy. Back to where music means something. Where it’s felt.”

“Dorothy was from Kansas.” She glanced away. “I’m not.”

“Then go back to wherever the hell you’re from,” I snapped. Crossing my arms over my chest, I hunkered down into the sand and shut my eyes, trying to block out the cold wind that was picking up and slapping my skin, and her words that were still stabbing at my heart.

I never let anything get to me like this. Not anymore. I just needed some sleep. I didn’t want to go back to my mum’s house here in Brighton, and my flat in London was too far away. So hopefully the cops wouldn’t find me here and kick me off the beach.

With my eyes closed, I said, “Thanks for the midnight critique, but as the fastest-rising DJ in Europe, with the best clubs in the world begging for me to spin at their decks—all at nineteen—I think I’ll ignore your extensive notes and just keep on living my sweet as fuck life.”

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I don’t even know where to start on my review of A Wish for Us. I suppose I’ll begin by telling you that I was up until 4 am because once I discovered just how Tillie Cole intended to shred my heart, I had to know how it all played out. After all, the author nearly killed me with A Thousand Boy Kisses, so I knew nothing was a given except that Cromwell and Bonnie would love hard, love deep, and love completely… once Cromwell got out of his own way. I knew that once he stopped fighting Bonnie, stopped resurrecting the walls she was knocking down, stopped closing himself off to the music in his soul, and opened his heart, that their love would be perfect. But I didn’t know how long that love would last, how much the ticking down of the clock would hurt, and if there was any hope for a happily ever after for the pair, so I had to read to the end. Unfortunately, I was woefully unprepared for just how much Cole would make me bleed, make me cry, and leave me wrecked by the time I got to the final page. I’m pretty sure I spent half the book either wiping tears from my eyes or full on sobbing – body wracking sobs. I woke this morning with a literal book hangover – puffy eyes, stuffy nose, a pounding headache, and so emotionally drained that I was useless – and it’s taken hours for me to finally be able to sit down and write my review. And yes, I’m tearing up as I do so. Despite how I felt this morning, I wouldn’t trade it for anything because A Wish for Us was not only a beautiful story, but it’s an utterly fascinating one as well.

From the outside, Cromwell and Bonnie are complete opposites. The tatted up bad boy and the quiet girl next door. An electronic dance music DJ and a folk music songwriter. A sullen young man who’s fighting to keep the world at bay and a hopeful young woman who’s fighting to accomplish her dreams while she can. But as different as they are, they both have a love a music that is tethered to their souls. And it’s that soul-deep connection to music that makes it impossible for them to keep each other at arm’s length – even when Cromwell doesn’t feel as though he deserves to love and be loved or when Bonnie feels she’s being cruel and selfish by letting him into her life when her future is so uncertain. Because Cole doesn’t do anything in half measures, getting past one another’s defenses wasn’t the biggest obstacle they had to overcome, merely one of many as they had to slay personal demons, conquer each other’s defenses, and come face-to-face with unsurmountable odds the universe dropped in their path as they learned the hard lesson that there are some things in life you have no control over.

The blurb tells you everything you need to know without telling you anything. Seemingly poetic word choices take on a whole new meaning once you’ve read the book and are able to suss out their true meaning. But even if you’re able to pick up on the clues before beginning the book, it still won’t prepare you for the heartbreak you’re likely to experience. There were parts of the story that were subtly telegraphed and parts that I knew were coming, and I still wasn’t able to prepare myself for the fallout. There is a series of events that play out toward the end, they are vital to story, to Bonnie having more time with Cromwell, and I saw it coming, silently begged that I was wrong and that Cole wasn’t going there, and I now have tears streaming down my face because it hurts me so much that the price for a soul-deep love was so high. A Wish for Us weaves such a beautiful tale of love and loss, of hope and despair, and life and death that I have to give it five stars, even if my heart isn’t strong enough to ever read it again because just like Bonnie dug down deep into Cromwell’s heart, their tale is just an entrenched in mine. Well done, Tillie Cole, well done.

For those of you keeping count, this was a five-tissue tearjerker.

Tillie Cole hails from a small town in the North-East of England. She grew up on a farm with her English mother, Scottish father and older sister and a multitude of rescue animals. As soon as she could, Tillie left her rural roots for the bright lights of the big city.

After graduating from Newcastle University with a BA Hons in Religious Studies, Tillie followed her Professional Rugby player husband around the world for a decade, becoming a teacher in between and thoroughly enjoyed teaching High School students Social Studies before putting pen to paper, and finishing her first novel.

Tillie has now settled in Austin, Texas, where she is finally able to sit down and write, throwing herself into fantasy worlds and the fabulous minds of her characters.

Tillie is both an independent and traditionally published author, and writes many genres including: Contemporary Romance, Dark Romance, Young Adult and New Adult novels.

When she is not writing, Tillie enjoys nothing more than curling up on her couch watching movies, drinking far too much coffee, while convincing herself that she really doesn’t need that extra square of chocolate.

Connect with Tillie

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of A Wish for Us by Tillie Cole to read and review for this tour.

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