~ Synopsis ~
Haunted by her experience at The Fed, Caroline tries to create a new identity. A new present, a new future. She can’t escape the memories that dog her when she least expects it, leaving her mired in a depression that she finds difficult to escape. Caroline needs to regain her physical and mental strength if she intends on surviving the journey to find the elusive rebellion. But that’s easier said that done with the ghosts of the past constantly whispering in her ear.
The road is long and dangerous, and there are no guarantees. She and her companions have no idea what they will find when they arrive at their destination. And what they finally discover may change everything.
Part Three of a Six Part Saga. Sojourn (approximately 89,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first two books in the series. Ends in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including explicit sex and violence.
Rafflecopter Giveaway – For a chance to win 1 ebook copy of all three books in The Bellator Saga: Dissident, Conscience & Sojourn
A wide, flat box on the table next to the door. Jack expected her to open it automatically after years of them hemming and hawing and flirting and flaking. Playing their little games that ended with them in a tangle on the floor or in the bathroom or in their bed. They usually started against the wall but sometimes gravity got the best of them. This year would be different. Their passion tempered, their minds scattered.
Caroline gasped when she opened the box. Freshwater pearls. Jack had given her a different necklace every year. Whatever jewels he could think of, and as grandiose as possible. She wondered why he’d done it when so much was in flux. Whether it would even matter as time went on. All those presents, all those gestures, all those expensive purchases. Caroline wondered if they’d all someday disappear.
Such talk was silly. Nothing would happen. Life would go on as it always had. The excesses of the Santos Administration couldn’t last forever. All her worrying and all their planning wouldn’t matter and everything would return to normal. Just like Jack had said.
She stared down at the box. At the brilliant, almost perfectly shaped orbs catching the light. She knew better than to ask. They were expensive as hell. One more pretty prize to add to her collection. One more present from a man whose grand gestures grew with each passing holiday. Caroline was determined to appreciate the gift, though she had her reservations.
“You didn’t have to do this,” she whispered.
He took the box out of her hand, carefully removing the necklace. “It’s tradition.”
They didn’t have many but he made sure to observe them all. “Does any of that matter anymore?”
“It matters to me.” Jack placed the pearls around her neck and kissed her softly. “Did you know that no two pearls are alike? Each one is completely unique, like a snowflake. The ancient Romans only allowed their emperor to wear them. They were that valuable. That precious.” He kissed her again. “Like you.”
She blinked and tried to look away from him, but he tipped her chin up. He didn’t stroke her cheek, didn’t kiss her, didn’t do any of the things that he did on their Christmas nights. Her eyes were drawn to his and for the first time in months she looked at him. Really looked at him.
They’d spend their days hustling around, doing whatever they could to keep themselves occupied. There were times when Caroline would barely see him. How often did they study each other? They had very few emotions or thoughts left unsaid but Caroline very rarely made the effort to focus on him. On his features. The way his eyes crinkled when he smiled, or the sound of his laugh. The way his hair would fall into his face when he was working late at night. The way he’d stare at her when he thought she wasn’t looking.
He was starting to look his age. They both were. Stress could destroy the body in a way that nothing else could. But she didn’t care. It didn’t matter whether Jack was young or old. Whether he was healthy or not. Whether he was angry or sad, joyful or indifferent. He was hers and always would be.
The ballroom remained silent save for the ticking of a clock. Neither one of them moved. The world ceased to exist. They were alone but they were together, and that was all that mattered. They stood there, their eyes locked together, until Jack lowered his gaze. The briefest of moments passed before he took her in his arms again.
“You are my everything, Caroline. My world, my life, the reason I exist. We’re going to get through this. I promise.”
How could he say that? She could sense that things were changing, that they soon might spiral out of control and neither one of them would be able to stop spinning. She was terrified to verbalize what she was thinking but said it anyway, knowing it would upset him. Caroline hated that her declining mood might ruin Christmas.
“I’m not sure I can believe you,” she whispered. “I’m sorry.”
“I don’t expect you to,” he said. “I can believe enough for both of us.”
This series…. what is there to say, that hasn’t already been said? The Bellator Saga has been one of my absolute favorite reads of 2015 – and though Cecilia London loooooves to rip your heart out, it’s in the best possible way. Sojourn took us on an adventure – and one that is packed with hopeful suspense, because after everything…. and I mean everything that Caroline has suffered through? This woman, good lord, she deserves some light at the end of the tunnel. But the journey is long – and full of danger.
Everyone has put their lives on the line for this woman in the hopes that she has the answers to getting to someplace safe – and she’s not even sure if she can handle the outside world anymore. After everything Caroline endured in The Fed – she is fragile, she is broken and her mind is wandering into the past, giving us glimpses of her hope that Jack and her daughters are out there some where safe, even though she’s trying not go kid herself. She knows, deep down that there is no reason to have any hope. And the dreams and memories of happier times aren’t giving her the muscle she needs to carry on, they’re keeping her bogged down in a depression so thick, she’s not even sure she can find her way out to save them all.
This story is a dark tale, but an spectacular suspenseful love story – because in the heart of it all is Jack & Caroline – the love they have for one another, the passion – Jeeeezus. The passion was prolific in Sojourn and really had me mapping out a way to build a library in my house – telling my husband we REALLY need to buy a piano and he needs to learn how to speak french. He’s not on board yet, but there’s still hope.
This being the third installment I’ve gotten to know these characters very well, fallen in love with a lot of them and it choked me up so much through this book as Caroline’s memories of those people were scattered throughout …. knowing The Fed destroyed so much more than Caroline’s spirit.
Sojourn broke me – gutted me and I’m not sure I’ve ever highlighted a book so much before, because even though Caroline is going through a bit of a transition in this story, there is still the best banter I’ve ever read throughout. Caroline and her quick whit – her smart mouth, and the flirting with Jack? Some of my absolute favorite parts about this book. They had me laughing – tearing up and my toes curling more than once. That moment when you read an absolutely perfect scene between these two…. you get the chills? I felt that through this entire book -because with all the danger and chaos in this story there is hope… and there is love. Caroline has to hold on to the past no matter how much she wants to ignore the pain …… the thoughts and memories because she knows, deep down inside. She’s lost everything…. and she has to go on – she has to keep fighting.
I read this ending a dozen times – I sent tear stained tweets to Cecilia afterwards – she broke me – gutted me and brought me back to the brink…. leaving me begging for the fourth book!
If you haven’t checked out The Bellator Saga yet – grab them ASAP!
Book 1 – Dissident is on sale for $.99! You can check out my review…. HERE!
Book 2 – Conscience is on sale for $1.99. You can check out my review….. HERE!
And don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY for a chance to win all three!
About the Author, Cecilia London
Book 1: Dissident
Book 2: Conscience
Book 3: Sojourn
Cecilia is my pen name. I may or may not live in San Antonio, Texas. I’ve been known to apply quotes from ‘The Simpsons’ to everyday life. I live for baseball season.