Saturday, June 1, 2013

Blog tour: Darkness Before Dawn by Claire Contreras


Is love ever enough?

Faced with obstacles she could have never imagined, Blake is brought to darkness and back by forces in her past she never knew existed.

Desperate to stay connected to the only thing he loves, Cole is forced to revisit his past and align himself with the people who knew about Blake’s disappearance.

Separation has forced both Blake and Cole to learn how to live under the worst circumstances, each of them alone in their own hell.

When they reunite, can they be the same two people they were before darkness swept upon them?

Told in separate points of view, Darkness Before Dawn is the continuation of Blake and Cole’s fight to make it to the light.

4.5 stars

Blake is reliving her past and it’s a nightmare she isn’t waking up from.  She was taken from the people that she loved for the second time in her life.  Why do these people continue to want her?  That is a question that is thrown at us throughout the entire book and just when you think you have it figured out, the author throws another twist in the story.  Get out your whiteboard and start a family tree…it gets complicated.

Blake and Cole were just starting to find the happiness that they deserved with each other and Blake was able to tell people she loved them without fear that they would be taken from her.  Now she is separated from everybody she loves.  She has no idea how long she has been missing or where she is being held.

“I can barely hear Cole’s voice in my head anymore; the one there fades with each passing day and I can’t allow myself to forget what he sounds like, because if I do, I’ll lose hope.  I’ve already lost too much though.  And for him, for us, I can’t afford to lose that.”

Cole is going out of his mind wondering where Blake is and who has her.  He comes face-to-face with his past looking for some answers, but is left with only more bewilderment as to how everybody is involved and why they are all sitting back doing nothing. 

“Talk about information overload.  I think my brain just exploded.”

Blake is able to escape with the help of one of her captors but not without the loss of something taken from her again.  This poor girl cannot catch a break!!  It’s no wonder she had so many fears of telling people she loved them.  But once again, Cole is there to pick her up and put her back together again.   Blake’s normal way to react is to push people away.  She has pushed Cole away so many times it’s a wonder he doesn’t finally give up, but he loves her so much. 

“…you need to stop pushing me away.  Your pain is mine, let me carry it with you, for you, I don’t care as long as you’re with me…I want to be with you forever.  Forever, Blake.  You are everything to me.”

If you thought you loved Cole in There is No Light in Darkness, then your heart will overflow in Darkness Before Dawn.  Cole is dominant, possessive, protective, and a romantic.   I have never cried so many happy tears as I did while reading this book. 

“I love you and will be with you, fighting for you until the end of the world.  I love you for loving me, and I love you for allowing me to love you.  I love you to the moon and back.  Forever.”

I’m sad to see this series come to an end. The introduction of strong secondary characters gives me hope that there may be a continuation of their stories (ahem…Dean).   I loved this series and I feel strongly giving them high ratings is the absolute truth.  These books will have you gritting your teeth and turning the pages quickly.  If you love suspense and romance with an alpha male mixed in with a little bit of angst, you will be glad you read these books. 

 As to whether or not Blake and Cole finally receive the answers to what happened in their lives, I’m not certain they nor I fully comprehend how this could happen to them…greed makes people do crazy things.

“Does it really matter why it happened?  It happened.  We survived.”  -- Cole


Loud pounding on the bathroom door breaks me from my daydream and I get up quickly to turn off the water and get out of the shower. The pounding on the door continues until I yell out that I’m almost done. Once I’m dressed, I take a deep breath and decide that I will not let them break me; I won’t let my family down. I open the door and find Dean on the other side of it, wearing a plaid blue button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up, jeans, and black boots. His voluminous dark hair is perfectly styled, and even though I hate facial hair, I notice that the shadow of a beard displayed on his face looks pretty good on him. My eyes trail down his slim body and stay glued to the tattoo I see on his left forearm, until his chuckle brings me to meet his twinkling hazel eyes.

“Well, this is a change,” he says, the side of his mouth forming in a slight smile.

“What is?” I ask crinkling my eyebrows. 

“You. Checking me out instead of glaring at me,” he says as a slow smile spreads on his face.

My mouth pops open for a moment before I recover my thoughts. “I was not checking you out! I was trying to figure out what your tattoo is. There’s a difference. Besides, you’re not in your uniform today. It’s weird to see you wearing grown up clothes.” I mock.

He doesn’t really wear a uniform, but most of the time he’s dressed in jeans, a white T-shirt and a leather jacket. 

He shakes his head. “If you say so.” I can hear the disbelief in his voice and it makes me want to throw something at him.

“Do you have another magazine for me?”

He’s been bringing me magazines to help my boredom. I have to hide them whenever Alex comes to check up on me just in case, but that’s a small price to pay for entertainment. I may not know what’s going on in the world, but I know what celebrity couples are together and what the latest trend fashion is. So far, Drew Barrymore got married and Jessica Simpson had a baby. Maybe if I would have kept up with gossip before, this would be exciting for me to know, but frankly, I don’t give a damn. I sigh dreamily at my own thoughts and daze off thinking of Gerald O’Hara. God, I need to get the fuck out of here! You know it’s bad when you’re day dreaming of an old dead guy. 

“You’re such a pain in the ass,” Dean says with a laugh, and then suddenly stops. “Shit. I was kidding, chick, you didn’t have to go and cry about it.” 

I wipe my tears, but can’t stop the sobs from escaping my throat before I bury my face in my hands. How pathetic am I that I can’t be called a pain in the ass without crying? How pathetic is it that everything reminds me of Cole? Once I calm down, I wipe my face again and bring the tray onto my lap, avoiding his gaze. 

“So, you don’t like being called a pain in the ass?” he asks quietly. I know he’s trying to keep the conversation light, but I’m not in the mood for any of it. 

“No,” I grumble before taking a bite of toast. “I don’t like being called anything.”

He sits in front of me and watches me eat in silence. When I finish, I get up and head to the bathroom, leaving him sitting on the floor by my bed. 

I wash my hands before sitting up on the counter and lean my back on the mirror hoping that he gets tired of waiting for me and leaves. I idly begin to draw circles over the green bruises on my calf and it hits me that that’s all I am these days: cuts and bruises, inside and out. At the sound of thunder outside, I snap back to reality and hop off the counter, picking up my hair in a messy pony tail as I open the door, hoping to walk into an empty room, but Dean still there flipping through my magazine.

“You gonna sit here and read old gossip all day?” I ask.

He raises an amused eyebrow. “This is new gossip.” 

As he walks over to me, I notice our difference in height, for some reason I had never noticed the way he towers over me. Probably because I’m always looking at the ground unless I’m sitting on it. He’s definitely not as tall as Cole, nothing about his physical appearance is like Cole’s. Cole is tall and muscular, Dean is tall and lean. Cole has more of a playboy face, whereas Dean is more of a rugged pretty boy. The only thing they have in common is that swag, or spark that some guys have. The one that draws you to them, even though you know in the back of your mind that you will get burned once you get too close. When he leans close to hand over the magazine, making me flinch a little, I take in his scent of nicotine and cinnamon. 

He holds my stare as we both grip either side of the magazine. “I wouldn’t hurt you, Chick, okay?”

“You are hurting me,” I whisper as I take it from his hand and sit down on the bed. I downcast my eyes and look at it, but it looks blurry through my eyes and I can’t make out who’s on the cover. He cups his hand under my chin and lifts my face to look at him, but I turn my face out of his hold. “Don’t touch me, please.”

About the author

Claire Contreras graduated with her BA in Psychology from Florida International University. She lives in Miami, Florida with her husband, two little boys, and three dogs. 

Her favorite past times are: daydreaming, writing, and reading. 

She has been described as a random, sarcastic, crazy girl with no filter. 

Life is short, and it’s more bitter than sweet, so she tries to smile as often as her face allows. She enjoys stories with happy endings, because life is full of way too many unhappy ones. 

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