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I blew out a cleansing breath and erased my browser history.
I’d become so good over the years at hiding everything I did. It had become second nature to me. Protecting myself and the ones I loved. No matter the cost.
An email popped up on my screen.
Another job order.
I pumped my fist, ready to celebrate.
“Girl, get some champagne,” I said to myself. I wished I had people to party with. Friends who’d be proud of what I’d accomplished. All by myself.
I blinked the emotions threatening to put out the fireworks shooting inside me.
I deserved to applaud every single one of my milestones, no matter how small they were.
After all, where was life, if not in the little things that made it wonderful? No matter how hard the rest seemed. Yes, the little things, details that could look insignificant from an outsider’s point of view but deserved as much love as big accomplishments.
Champagne. Yes, I’d celebrate my own success. On my own terms.
Work had never been so steady before. Great things would happen. I could feel it. A shift in the air. Or a good fortune.
I changed into a comfy sweater and a pair of worn-out jeans, added a coat of pink lipstick and some mascara.
Humming a song, I traipsed toward the kitchen counter to fetch my purse and car keys to fulfill my bubbly mission.
A loud pound resonated on the door.
My glee died, buried ten feet deep.
My cheerful heart turned to stone in my chest.
A cold shiver ran from my head to my toes.
My pulse thrummed heavy and strong.
I sensed him before he even opened his mouth.
Something dense clogged my airways.
My spine trembled at the idea of being used as a punching bag once again.
All the oxygen left my lungs, and my head turned.
Tears brimmed in my eyes.
Why? Why couldn’t he leave me alone? The hammering on the door intensified. It fractured more pieces of my heart. Little fragments I could never retrieve.
Robbie had a key. He usually let himself in. No matter the time. Maybe he lost it. Perhaps I could pretend to not be here and he would go away. Find another way to dissipate his anger. Find another someone who wasn’t me.
Because Robbie only came here if wrath bubbled inside him, and he had an urge to unwind.
And only if he was wasted. As if being drunk was an excuse to beat me senseless. Like he couldn’t bring himself to do it when sober.
Some part of him still cared for me. At least I hoped.
But his demons were bigger, faster, stronger, and they robbed him of everything that had once been good in him.
Sober Robbie, even using hurtful words, only manhandled me. Sober Robbie didn’t beat the shit out of me. Sober Robbie wasn’t that much of a monster. Sober Robbie had restraint. Sober Robbie could stop himself before it was too late.
Drunk Robbie was unpredictable. Drunk Robbie relished hurting me. Drunk Robbie enjoyed the violence. And the domination over another human being.
Drunk Robbie stole all my innocence.
Beautiful - all of Emmanuelle Snow’s books are absolutely beautiful! Tearjerkers, completely pull at the heartstrings, but completely magical.
Each one has major trigger warnings (please check her website before just diving in), which is why they are so emotionally powerful, but once you finish, you will feel as though you lived the lives of the characters. You can feel the research she has done - all are so well-written you would believe you are reading her own emotional journey and story.
This one - Hope and Country - is especially powerful. Having read pretty much everything Emmanuelle has written already, and not having many triggers, I went in blind, only knowing this was Riley’s book. I wanted to be surprised … and boy was I! The depth of emotion I went through on this roller coaster was huge! From the moment Riley and Devon spot each other from across a crowded industry party, until he helps to disentangle her from her abusive step-brother’s control… this is a hard one to get out of your mind.
Audio note - Emmanuelle has put her books onto Google Play audio, but all are read by AI (artificial intelligence), one automated voice. Being a computer, it can’t determine between a lot of words spelled the same, proper pronounciation, and doesn’t give a real performance like a human audiobook narrator (#humanvoicesonly). Being a huge audiophile for a dozen years, it was extremely hard listening to a lifeless computer voice. Get the ebook, until this is produced by humans!
Otherwise, I highly recommend not only this book (this might be my second fave in the series, after Pink), but the entire Carter Hills Band series!
I received an advance listen copy from the author and this is my honest feedback.
This book was so real and so raw. I felt the emotions through the pages. Check your trigger warnings. Focusing on a situation that people face daily is such a sad reality.
I read this book in 4 hours because I just could not put it down. It probably would have taken less time if mom duties and sleep didn't come knocking. Devon is the strongest woman character I have read about in quite some time. She might even be my hero. Riley is one of the most pure hearted men and his heart reminds me of my husbands; just pure and good. Don't miss out on this book.
Abuse is a tough topic to tackle. Emmanuelle once again delivered an emotional and riveting story. This is the second book I have read in the series and it was just as good as the first.
This book is one of strength and trauma. It is s a survivor's story and it shows just how much support can mean to helping someone get out of an abusive relationship to find love again. It requires a lot of love and patience to heal a heart that has been through these kinds of struggles. Thank you Emmanuelle for another great read and for showing the realistic side of such an important topic. I'm hoping this gave someone out there just what the title conveys....hope.
This is my first book from this author and I really enjoyed Riley and Devon’s story. Devon has a traumatic past and Riley ends up being just the right man for her. The story is well written and the characters are fantastic and have a great chemistry together. I was lucky to get an arc from the author and definitely recommend this book.
Once again Emmanuelle Snow has created such amazing work. I went through an emotional journey with this story, I had happy tears, sad tears and laughter. It was just so heartfelt and pure. I couldn't put the book down. I felt so much for the characters throughout and was glad for their happy ending. I honestly don't think I've been so emotional over a book as I was with this. What a great addition to the Carter Hills books
Thank you Emmanuelle for creating such a wonderful journey for these two characters. Your writing is stellar and I can't wait tobsee what you come up with next