I loved you once. A love I thought irrevocable. A love I mistakenly believed could transcend both time and circumstance. Under the influence of my dimwitted, naïve, traitorous heart, I became intoxicated with what I now know was simply a figment of my self-indulgent imagination. So drunk on the feeling, I couldn’t see what was right in front of my face. So foolishly enamored, I blindly followed my heart into the depths of an emotion that would ravage me.
Years later, I know now what I wish I knew then. I am stronger. Smarter. Tougher. I will not allow myself to be broken again.
I loved you.
I raged for you.
I wept for you.
And now, I’m letting you go.
Author’s Note: Under the Influence is the journey of two childhood friends that spans the course of five pivotal years in their lives. It is a story about their discovery of true friendship as it blossoms into first love, their experience of crucial sacrifice and ultimate betrayal, and their endurance of agonizing heartbreak on the way to finding lasting redemption.
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Cassie maintains her wide smile. “You go on a date and I guarantee what you find regarding Dalton and his feelings will surprise you.”
“Cassie. No one wants to go out on a date with me. Trust me.”
She shakes her head before she busts out laughing. The ridiculous sound of it reverberates around my room. “You really have no idea, do you? Every guy at school has a hard-on for you, you fool. They’re fucking scared to come within even ten feet of you because of Dalton. He let it be known that if they did, he would deal with them.”
“Oh my God! You have no idea what you’re talking about!” I’m laughing outright now. She really has lost her mind.
She shakes her head, the severity of her statement tightening her features. “I’m totally serious, Spence. I swear on my Kindle.”
At this, I take a sharp breath and sober immediately. To Cassie, her Kindle is sacred as the Bible.
She nods slowly, dramatically, as she watches me grasp the meaning of her statement. Right hand raised, she states, “On the over-abundance of trashy romance novels within my possession, I solemnly swear that before Dalton graduated, he straight-up took out a vendetta against any male in our school who dares approach you.”
“He did what?!” I screech, pressing myself off the bed and catapulting into upright position.
Anger ignites and my face heats wildly as realization dawns.
This whole year, in fact, the entire four years of high school, no one has looked at me. No one has asked me to come to parties, to go on dates, to go to prom. Not that I would go, but it would be nice to be asked, you know? Okay, I probably would go. I mean, it’s a rite of passage, right?
Two black painted fingernails make their appearance as they snap directly in front of my face, jolting me out of my inner thoughts.
“Hooker! Pay attention!”
I shake my head and refocus. Still seething, I whisper, “This whole time, I thought it was me. That I wasn’t dating material or pretty enough. Four years, Cass. Four years of feeling like I wasn’t good enough.” My molars grind together. “It all makes sense now.”
She waves her hand dismissively. “We’re getting off track here.”
My eyes bulge as she continues, “I have found someone who, luckily for you, seems to have recently acquired a death wish.”
* A review copy was provided by the author for the Blog Tour *
~ 5 Stars ~
Whenever I pick up a book by L.B. Simmons, I know I am in for a treat. Under the Influence was no different. This story was unique and captivating. Her books always grab you right from the start and don’t let go until the very end.
” A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”….. William Shakespeare
Under the Influence is about a friendship and love that spans over many years and put to the test. Can a love, that is felt to the depths of your soul, endure separation and distance, to come out stronger in the end ? That is a question that can only be answered by reading this book. This story is also about second chances, and it shows that everyone deserves one, but so few rarely are given one. This is also a story of redemption and turning your life around to be a better person. This book does touch on the serious subject of abuse and abandonment. It was tough reading about Dalton and Spencer’s past.
” A second chance is a gift that many, many people long to receive , yet sadly, few are given.”
This book is so hard to review without giving spoilers, so that is why I am keeping it vague. This book was filled with so much emotion, between not only Spencer and Dalton, but all the characters. I laughed, I cried, I swooned and I yelled while reading this book. My heart and emotions were all over the place during this story, but that is what makes a book a 5 star read for me. This story is told in Dual POV and I think that was perfect. It helped connect to the characters better and it also made you feel what the characters were feeling.
Dalton and Spencer were amazing characters. Both broken by a horrible upbringing, but both equally strong and wanting to be the best they can be. They have known each other for years and have been the best of friends, when they finally decide to take the next step and take it further. These two characters were just meant for each other. It’s hard to explain without giving things away, but they just worked 🙂
” That’s us, Spence. All separate pieces of you and me that fit together to make a whole.”….. Dalton
This book is broken into 3 parts. Part 1 is the heartwarming and swoony part of this story, Part 2 is the part that broke my heart many times (I loved this part because it was made up of notes between Spencer and Dalton) and Part 3 will put you heart back together. I loved the way this story ended. Everything came full circle and I was left with a smile on my face and a new couple in my heart.
So if you are looking for a friends to lovers story, that is about friendship, love, and redemption, then look NO further and READ THIS BOOK!!!! If you are a fan of L.B. Simmons you will fall in love with this book as well!!! This is definitely a MUST READ STORY!!!!
L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and
holds a degree in Biomedical Science.
She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years. She lives with her husband and three
daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.