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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Songbird Freed by Lisa Edward Review, Excerpt + Author & Character Interview

Songbird Freed (Songbird #3) 
Lisa Edward

My name is Tara O’Connell, and I’ve always believed we control our own fate. That life is a journey with many roads, and the choices we make can shape our future.

Life has presented me with two paths and I’ve chosen one.

Was it right? Did I make the best decision?

After the uncertainty of the last twelve months, my destiny is now crystal-clear to me. I have a man I love more than words can express, a thriving business, and the best friends anyone could ask for. But just when I thought I could put the turmoil of my past behind me and move on, a life-changing phone call has rocked me to the core and turned my life upside-down once more.

To make matters worse, influences outside my control have taken hold and are shattering my perfect world.

But some things are worth fighting for.

Dreams can come true and I’ll do everything in my power to make them happen. But dreams can also be smashed into tiny pieces, and no matter how hard we fight or how hard we wish for something to be, sometimes with the hand we’ve been dealt, we can never win.

Unable to sleep, I slipped out of bed and went down to the living room to pace the floor. What I really wanted to do was play the piano until my nerves settled, but we didn’t have one in the apartment and it was too late to go down to Songbirds.
I stopped by the window to gaze out at the ocean from twelve stories up, as the full moon lit the tip of each wave when they rolled into shore. Maybe I should get dressed and slip out to Songbirds. Cole had been restless but had finally drifted into a troubled sleep. If I was quiet I could leave and come back without him even knowing.
Cole’s presence filled the room behind me before he made a sound.
“You don’t need to be up for a few more hours, babe,” he whispered, wrapping his strong arms around me from behind. “Come back to bed.”
Pressing my body back into his, I took comfort in the warmth of his skin. “I can’t sleep, I’m too worried about this trip.”
“Who said anything about sleeping?” His hot breath in my ear gave me goose bumps. “I can stroke your hair, help you relax.”
“I feel like I need to play, I wish we had a piano here.” I paused, contemplating what to do. “Maybe I’ll go down to Songbirds.”
Cole squeezed me tighter, kissing my hair. “Just stay with me, it’s our last few hours together.” He said it with such finality that I turned to face him.
“Last few hours before I go away, but I’m coming back.”
Cole diverted his eyes. “Maybe.”
Placing my hand on his cheek, I turned his head back towards mine. “What do you mean ‘maybe’? I’m not moving to Kabul permanently.”
“I know, but you may not be coming back … to me.”
I sighed. After everything we’d been through how could he doubt how much I loved him?
“I just don’t want to be alone tonight. There are going to be too many nights of sleeping alone,” he said sadly.
Taking his hand, I led him over to the couch and lay down, leaving enough room for him to lie beside me.
“This feels familiar,” he said with a smile. “Back to where it all began.”
“Is this where it began?” I asked, raising my eyebrows.
“This is where I realised I was in love with you. Before then I knew I had feelings for you, but I didn’t really understand them.” He chuckled softly. “I know I acted like a complete jerk sometimes, I just didn’t know how to deal with what was going on in my head, and my heart. I tried to tell myself it was just lust. I was desperate to spend time with you, but I convinced myself I only wanted to get into your pants.”
I slapped him playfully on the chest. “Good thing I didn’t give in to you then, isn’t it?”
He grabbed me and pulled me into his side, squeezing me close. As he gazed up at the ceiling, his mood seemed reflective. “I guess so, although if you had we would have been together a lot longer.” He draped his other arm around me and I gladly snuggled in. “It was when we were laying like this and your body was wrapped around mine, I realised you were the perfect fit.
“Do you remember the first night out here on the couch? You dribbled all down my neck,” he chuckled.
“Oh my God, I can’t believe you remember that,” I said, recalling how embarrassed I’d been.
“I remember everything,” he replied softly. “Every glance when you thought I wasn’t looking. Every smile, every hug where you squeezed me just a little bit tighter, or kissed my cheek and held it for a few seconds longer than a friend should. All those little things are what kept me going. They gave me hope that we would end up together.
“Pops kept telling me not to give up on you, that I would never fall in love with someone the way I love you, and he was right.”
He was grinding his teeth, his jaw clenched.
“What’s wrong, babe?”
Concern was etched all over his face as he looked down at me. “I always knew I had you on borrowed time, but I wanted longer, it hasn’t been long enough. I haven’t had enough time to make you fall in love with me, I mean really fall in love, the way you loved Riley.”
And there it was, the crux of the problem.
Leaning up on my elbow, I peered down at his gorgeous face. His eyes were boring into me, looking for answers, for reassurance.
“I love you, Cole. I think in a way I have loved you since we used to cuddle on the couch. I just couldn’t express it because I couldn’t betray Riley.”
“But now he’s back. Back in your life, and you’re going to be spending the next couple of weeks with him.” He ran his hand through his hair. “It’s going to drive me crazy not knowing what’s happening.”
“Nothing’s going to happen.” My hand was resting on his chest. I could feel his heart beat racing under it. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re together now. I’m not with Riley.”
“Yeah, but he doesn’t know that. He’s going to take one look at you and think his beautiful fiancée has come to rescue him, so you can run off and get married.” His voice was so full of concern, his face so drawn from stress.
He had a point, though. While I had taken the time to mourn the supposed death of Riley and move on emotionally, Riley’s head was likely to be in a completely different space. Trouble was, after what he had been through, I had no idea where that space would actually be. He might be withdrawn and completely shut down, or he might see me as his saviour and never want to let go.
I kissed Cole softly on the forehead, and then pressed mine to his. “I’m coming back to you. This is something I need to do, I can’t leave Riley there with those monsters. I couldn’t leave any of our friends there when I have the means to save their life. But it doesn’t mean this is the end of us.”
Cole ran his hand gently up my back and into my hair, fisting it lightly.
“You’re mine, Tara. He had his chance and he blew it. I know what he does is selfless and brave, but he put his career ahead of you. I put you ahead of everything. I’m not letting you go without a fight.” His lips brushed against mine as he spoke. “I love you Tara, with every part of me, I love you.”
“I love you too, Cole. I am yours, for as long as you want me.”
“How does forever sound?”
“Not long enough. Forever with you wouldn’t be long–”
His lips were on mine before I could finish the sentence. His arm wrapped around me, pulling me on top of him and against his firm body. I couldn’t catch my breath—it was as if Cole thought this would be our last night together, his kiss growing hungrier by the second.
He ran his hands down my sides to my hips, pushing them down firmly, then rocked his own hips up, pushing himself against me.
“Just one last time,” he said almost to himself, his kisses becoming ever more urgent.
I raised my head. “This isn’t the last time. Please don’t think that way.”
He nodded unconvincingly. “If something were to happen between you and Riley while you’re over there with him,” he hesitated, “you know what I mean.” He waited for me to nod. “But you do choose me, I don’t want to know about it. I know you would feel like you have to tell me, but I couldn’t deal with it.”
“Look at me,” I chastised. “Nothing is going to happen. I love you and I want to be with you. So enough silly talk and do something useful with that mouth of yours.”
He grinned. “Yes boss.”

Have you read the SONGBIRD trilogy?

The SONGBIRD trilogy is a love triangle with a difference. Two men fulfil different needs in Tara O’Connell, but she can only choose one. Will she go with her heart or her head, and will it be the right decision?

Book 1: Songbird

Book 2: Songbird Caged

Instrument— Okay, I'm gonna keep this clean and choose a musical instrument. Although I play guitar in the band, I write all my music on the piano, and of course it's Tara's instrument of choice, so I'm gonna say piano is my favorite
Song— It changes all the time, but I love Best Day of My Life by American Authors
Car— I used to love my little sports car, but I'm really enjoying driving my Porsche Cayenne Turbo S
Part of the Female Anatomy— Everything between the top of the head to the tip of the toes. I love everything about a woman. Do I have a favourite? It would have to be Tara's heart
Jungle or Desert? Maybe desert - less bugs
Art or Science? Definitely Art, it's in my blood
Deep Sea Diving or Sky Diving? Sky diving, although I've never done it, I reckon it would be exhilarating
Giving or Receiving? Giving or receiving what? I used to be a taker but now I love giving. I guess it depends who the other person is. There’s nothing better than making Tara happy.

Color— Purple, has been since I was a little kid
Article of Clothing— jeans
Sports Team— not a huge sports fan, but if Australia is playing anyone, I have to go for the Aussies
Candy— M&Ms - love the red ones
Drama or Chorus? I’d go for chorus, anything musical is a hit with me
Ocean or Swimming Pool? Definitely ocean - we have the best beaches in Australia
Rain or Snow? Snow because it's rare where I live, so it's a treat
Paperback or E-Reader? I collect paperbacks, but I love my Kindle to read, so much easier

While Lisa Edward has called Melbourne Australia home for her entire life, she has lived and worked in England, and travelled through most parts of Europe and the United States. 

She loves nothing more than spending time with her husband and beautiful daughter, or curling up into the early hours of the morning with a great novel. 

Her deep appreciation for literature was nurtured from a young age, being taught to respect books and get lost in their stories. She enjoys reading honest and realistic novels that are relatable, thought provoking and leave a lasting impression. 

She can’t write without music playing, using the emotions from different songs to invoke that of her characters. 

Lisa takes inspiration from her own life experiences, the people around her and those she has met in her travels.

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love when a book really makes me feel. Songbird Freed very much did that. Barely into the pages, I was already fighting the tears. I laughed, cried, sulked, worried, fumed, emotional cup ran over.
"Hey," I said, squeezing his hands so he would look at me. "Don't worry. I'm leaving my heart here for safe keeping." He half smiled. "Yeah, but you're taking mine with you."

This is the finale in a love triangle. I knew who I wanted Tara to end up with a long time ago, but things don't always go as the reader wants so I was nervous. And the hardest part of all is that both men are wonderful. Most women would love to have either.

Riley is a strong, heroic helicopter pilot in the Special Forces. They were together first. He always takes care of others and chooses to do his duty to whomever he feels the obligation instead of thinking of what he should do for himself. Commitments come before desires.

Cole is a sultry, fun playboy musician and heir to old money. Cole and Tara share the connection of music. They get each other in ways she and Riley can't. Cole has been promised to marry another since childhood though. Is he brave enough to stand up to his family?

Throughout this series, whenever Tara would seem to be solid with one of these men, something would happen to throw the other back into her life. All three must finally decide to take a stand. I believe things went the best way they possibly could, but I still hurt for the other man. The ending was beautiful. The whole book was beautiful. So much detail went into causing the reader to experience each sentiment, action and response.
I pursued Tara because from the moment I laid eyes on her, she was all I could see in my future.

I also want to give special props to the fact that although it was a love triangle filled with drama and angst, the main characters behaved maturely for the most part in this book. They didn't hold back, just came out and said how they felt, what they did, etc. There weren't as many misunderstandings as there could have been, and I appreciated the forwardness and honesty parts.

***copy given in exchange for an honest review***


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