Welcome to my stop on the Blog Tour, presented by Gossip Girls PR, for Current by Abby McCarthy. Please leave a comment or question for Abby to let her know you stopped by. My review will post when I get home from work tonight.
One look was all it took for fifteen-year-old June Withers to fall in love with Jake Daniels. One moment was all it took for the river’s current to take everything from them.
June would have done anything for Jake. The two were inseparable. He was going to run away to be with her. Then, his abusive father destroyed their happiness.
Years later, June sits down to write a review for the band Silent Tides and is floored when she comes face to face with Lucas the keyboardist. Lucas looks so familiar; the resemblance to Jake is uncanny.
June falls fast and hard for Lucas, but she continuously questions her feelings for him, unsure if they are because he reminds her of Jake or because of who he is.
Just when June thinks she’s found happiness with Lucas, she loses him too. Their new love is torn apart, clouded in a veil of deceit and lies, shattering June.
Six years pass and June feels like she finally has found peace in her life. Once again, it’s ripped wide open when she comes face to face with a love from her past.
Now it’s June who has a secret
“Jake! Where the hell are you? We should’ve been out on the water by now!” Shit, Jake thought. The old man didn't sound good today. He wondered if he even slept. When Jake left early this morning, his old man hadn’t come home yet which could mean so many things.
Jake looked over to June who was decent and breathed a sigh of relief as his dad walked through the clearing. If his dad was just minutes earlier he would have seen June. The thought sickened Jake.
June stood up as soon as she saw Mr. Daniels, her cheeks flushed pink from embarrassment and she hoped he had no idea what they had been up too.
“Hi, Mr. Daniels,” she said.
“You again, huh? You’re the reason Jake isn’t where he’s supposed to be, aren’t you?”
June didn’t know what to say. She heard Mike Daniels say unkind things to Jake, but he had never been rude to June before. Jake reached June and slipped his hand in hers and gave her a look that said don't answer him.
“I’m coming now, Dad,” Jake said. June was instantly sad that she had to leave Jake.
“I’m good at cleaning fish. I bet I’d be a great help on the boat Mr. Daniels,” June offered up ignoring the glare Jake gave her. She knew he didn’t want her around his old man, but she also knew her time was coming to an end.
Mr. Daniels was quiet and thought for a moment and said, “Fine. Let’s go.”
Jake felt it low and in the pit of his stomach that something about this was a bad idea, but when June squeezed his hand and said, “Please,” he couldn’t deny her.
The fishing boat was not a luxury boat. It was a dirty, slightly rusty boat, with large nets hanging off the front of it, and other fishing contraptions off the back that June had no idea what they did. When she thought of fishing, she thought of how her dad did it with a pole, a couple of beers and a day out with friends. There were poles attached on the side of the boat and baskets attached to the opposite side. It became very clear to June that this was not a leisurely trip down the river.
Jake cringed when June sat on the bench that he knew had dried fish guts staining it. He hated that her pretty dress was going to be ruined before the day was over. He hated even more when he saw his dad take the whiskey bottle to his lips before pushing off their small dock. He never wanted June to be around his dad, and for once, he instantly regretted giving in to her quiet plea to go with them. He was shocked his dad agreed in the first place.
The boat pushed off the dock and Jake dropped cages to catch crawfish and he explained to June that they would sweep back around and grab them on the way back.
“Less talking. More work,” Mr. Daniels yelled more angrily than necessary at the young couple.
June quickly asked, “What can I do?”
Jake tensed at his dad’s tone and then tensed even more when he watched him take the fifth of whiskey to his lips again finishing the bottle.
Eventually, they reached a spot on the river where Mr. Daniels swore the fish would be biting. Jake showed June how to bait and cast out a line, taking his time in making sure she learned it right.
“If I’d thought this was going to be a day of you trying to get in your girlfriend’s pants, I’d have thought twice about letting her tag along,” Mike Daniels spat at the two, jealous that they had each other and angry that he no longer had his sweet wife. She was always the only person who made him good. Without her, he had nothing. He never felt connected to Jake. Jake always occupied his wife’s time and Mike resented that. He hated Jake even more for it when he no longer had her.
Jake cringed again at the vulgar words his dad used around June, mouthing, “Sorry,” to her.
June responded by squeezing Jake’s hand and for the first time she got a small glimpse at what Jake went through on a daily basis. Her heart hurt for him and she was going to do her best not to let Mr. Daniels harsh words get to her.
Mr. Daniels pushed past the two and intentionally shoulder-checked Jake. Jake knew not to stand up to his old man, especially not when June was there, so he gritted his teeth and tried to check his temper. Jake was angry that his dad was acting like this in front of June. He could take it, but didn't need for June to put up with it.
Mr. Daniels threw a line out, stationed his rod and then cast another, doing it all rather clumsily. The boat swayed side to side and Jake thought there would be no swimming for the pair tonight, the river was far too choppy. It was one of the reasons he didn't rush to the boat. He never thought his dad would want to fish in this.
June squealed with excitement when she felt a tug on the line. Jake told her to reel it slow at first and let the fish think that he was getting the bait, that way the fish would really get hooked. She did as instructed and after a few minutes of give and take on the line, she reeled in her first fish. It was small, too small to sell, and so Jake showed her how to unhook it and then he threw it back in. Jake caught several large fish while his dad had yet to catch one.
The clouds looked heavy and low, signaling to Jake that a bad storm might be coming.
“I don't think we should stay out here, not if we’re going to pick up our baskets on the way back,” Jake said to his dad.
Mike Daniels looked furiously at Jake. He knew when to call it quits. It was his boat. He’d been fishing on this river since he was a boy. Maybe he shouldn’t have had that extra fifth of whiskey with breakfast-who was he kidding-for breakfast, but it didn't matter he knew when to call it quits and that wasn’t yet. He needed more fish. He needed a bigger haul. He lost big on the tables last night and if he didn’t come up with money to pay Mr. Stevens there would be hell to pay. He’d already lost the farm and that shit son of his couldn’t even catch enough fish to help pay his debts. What good was he, anyways?
“The fuck did you say, boy? I’ll tell you when we’re ready to go.”
June flinched at Mr. Daniels tone but tried to not let Jake see it had affected her. She also tried not to flinch when Mr. Daniels threw out his line and snagged his rig against a bunch of turned up branches that the coming storm was pushing down the river.
“That’s a fifty dollar rig. Get your ass in the water and go get it,” he said to Jake.
Jake wanted to argue about the fast current and how dangerous it was. He also hated the thought of leaving June alone with his old man even for a second, but he could tell by his old man’s tone that today could get even worse than it already was. Jake stripped off his jeans, into his boxers and quickly jumped into the murky water, looking back at June once before plunging under the water.
June’s stomach tightened. Every second Jake was in the water was a second she felt like she couldn't breathe.
It happened fast. Mike Daniels was too close to June for comfort.
“You know I saw you two together. I didn’t figure you for a whore, but at least my boy is getting some. I’m thinking I should get a taste. See what all the fuss is about that’s been keeping him so busy.”
June froze. She didn’t want Mr. Daniels to come any closer to her, but she needed to make sure that Jake was okay.
Jake emerged from under the water near the brush. The water was choppy, and there were more limbs below the surface than above. He reached out and tried to unhook the rig, but the tumultuous waters pushed a sharp jagged stick into his ribs. He felt it cut his skin, but he had to go on.
“Stop!” he heard the faint cry from June, and turned his head back to see why she was yelling. His dad had his hands on June and was groping one of June’s breasts.
“No!” she yelled again and he watched as she struck out and smacked his dad. He needed to get to her, he knew what happened when he tried to fight back and. Fighting back only made it worse.
He couldn't swim back fast enough to the boat. His arms burned with how hard he was trying to get to her. The sky opened up and sent large pellets of water everywhere. Jake could barely see through the dense rain. He pushed himself as hard as he could but felt like he was failing when he saw his dad grab her by the back of her hair and force her to her knees, with his other hand around her throat. He knew his dad was sick, but he never imagined him trying to do something as vile as this.
Jake reached the boat just as his dad’s belt buckle was being undone and his world went black. He was consumed with rage as he lunged for his dad. Hate from deep within Jake pumped adrenaline through him as he slammed his fist into his dad’s ribs.
June landed on the ground when Mike Daniels released her head in order to fight his son.
Mike never thought his son had it in him and was pleased that he might get a little bit of a fight from him. It would make kicking his ass all the more fun.
Jake fought hard, but was no match for his dad. The moment Mike got his bearings, he went wild on Jake hitting him with all his force.
Mike had always big man .The drinking didn't make him fat like it did some men. Right then his six foot three frame was towering over Jake, slamming his head against the deck of the boat. Jake could faintly hear June screaming, but one of the blows to his head created a ringing that was drowning out all other sounds. Normally, he would have passed out by now, but he had to stay conscious for June.
June couldn’t take it any longer. It was killing her watching every blow that Jake took. She had to do something to stop the beating that he was taking. She looked all around the boat for anything should could use to get Mike off of Jake. An oar attached to the side of the boat caught her eye, and without much thought, she grabbed it and swung it at Mr. Daniels’ head.
Blood splattered and she knew it cut his head, but he was still conscious. His fists stopped connecting with Jake and he was momentarily stunned that the tiny girl had hit him. June didn’t wait as she leaned into the oar like it was a baseball bat and she struck again.
Mike stood and approached when her second blow hit. The combination of the alcohol, the boat swaying in the storm and the last hit to his head was all it took to send Mike overboard. She watched for a second, stunned that she was capable of something like that and stared silently, with tears staining her cheeks as the rough river seemed to swallow him.
What had she just done?
She meant to save Jake, not kill his dad, but as he disappeared into the river, she knew that is exactly what she had done.
Jake brought the boat back to the dock. The rain seemed to slow, as if it too was a part of what transpired. After he secured the boat, he led June back towards her house. The walk back was done in silence. Jake hated that she was leaving, but even more than that he hated what she witnessed. A part of him broke when he watched his father grab her and then even more of him broke as he said goodbye. He vowed to be with her again. He wouldn't let anything get in his way.
Jake returned home, a place he wasn't even sure if he belonged anymore with determination to be with June again. Jake’s hope diminished when he smelled the cigarette smoke on his porch and then he saw the man standing in the shadows.
“Who’s there?” he called out thinking that it was probably his old man, he wouldn’t believe he was gone until he saw a body.
“Who I am isn’t as important as why I’m here.” A man almost twice the size of Jake, wearing a black cotton t-shirt, black dress pants and black shoes, stepped out of the shadows .A dragon tattoo snaked up his neck and danced around a scar that went over his face across his eye and disappeared into his dark hairline.
“Why are you here?” Jake asked trying to be brave even though he was spent from his emotional day.'
The man smiled sinisterly, “I’m here to collect a debt. Your father owed me a sizable one and seeing as I watched you and your girlfriend knock him overboard, that debt falls on you.”
“But it was an accident,” Jake pleaded with the man.
“An accident, huh? That’s why you can swim after a rig, but not after your old man? Way I saw it was you let the water take him. You didn't have the balls to kill him yourself, though. You let that sweet little girlfriend of yours do the work.”
“Leave June out of it!” Jake squared his shoulders and tried to look bigger than he was.
The man laughed, “I could use her as repayment. Take care of her parents in their sleep before they go and make it look like it was you. I bet she can repay the debt real nice.”
Jake felt sick. He did this. He knew he was no good for June and now all of darkness was threatening to hurt her.
“What do you want?” Jake asked feeling defeated. In the last several hours, he was beaten, watched the girl he loved being attacked by his Dad, watched the current take his Dad and then had to say goodbye to June. He felt like he was shattering. Everything that mattered was suddenly gone and now this man was going to harm June, his June.
“What do you want?” he asked again clearing his head from his thoughts and willing to do anything.
Abby McCarthy is reader and a lover of words. She is a blogger turned author and released her first novel in May 2014. She is a mother of three, a wife and a dog person. She has always written, sometimes poetry, sometimes just to vent about failed relationships, however in parenthood she has found her voice to help keep her sanity. Words have flowed from her, to review and with the support of amazing friends in the Indie community she has decided to pursue her dream of writing! She loves to write and read romance, because isn’t that something we all yearn for? Whether it be flowers and hand holding or just the right tug on your hair. Isn’t that what life is about? The human connection?
I’ve been reading a lot of cozy mystery and urban fantasy lately so I really looked forward to diving into Current by Abby McCarthy. Both the cover and the description of the book grabbed my attention, I’m a sucker for second chance romance and the cover made me think of romance and the beach. While I ended up somewhat disappointed overall, I think Ms. McCarthy is an author to watch.The prologue, mostly captured above in the “excerpt”, pretty much sets up what will become a part of the mystery. June and Jake are young lovers, very young in June’s part, who have to deal with Jake’s alcoholic dad and the abuse Jake is subjected to on an almost daily basis. Then something catastrophic happens and Jake disappears. The story then jumps ahead six or so years and we meet June as a college student in a bar preparing to listen to a “local band”, who she will write an article about for the local paper. The night becomes magical when she meets “Lucas”, the band’s keyboard player, who reminds her of Jake. He even calls her “Juniper” – just like Jake used to.Ms. McCarthy does an okay job introducing the characters as young teenagers and I was looking forward to seeing how they had matured and changed. I wanted to see if June would figure out why “Lucas” reminded her so much of Jake and if she would decide that whether he was or wasn’t “Jake”, it didn’t matter because she was falling in love with the man in front of her rather than clinging to the past. Unfortunately, neither June or Luke are very mature and they proceed to fall into bed, and continue to fall into bed on practically every other page. In fact that is probably my biggest disappointment with the story, there is very little character development and even less development when it comes to the romance between them. The sex is often, graphic, and even unprotected at first.I wish I could say the secondary characters were better developed, but alas they were not. June’s best friend and “roomie”, Liz, sleeps around a lot and June even takes pictures of Liz’s potential dates drivers license, in case something happens to her while she’s out with them. The band members are used for background color but other than Dietz, the lead singer, we really don’t see them in the story much. I really wish the bands backstory had been better developed and flushed out – why did Lucas join the band and what were they trying to accomplish – did they want to get good enough for a record deal or were they happy just being a “garage band”?Will June discover if Lucas and Jake are the same person? Why did Jake leave town and will it come back and haunt them? Will June and Lucas or Jake have a future together? You’ll have to read Current to find out. While the story wasn’t for me, I do think that Ms. McCarthy’s writing style will get better with time and experience. I did like her “voice” and will definitely try another of her books in the future.My Rating: 3 out of 5 Crowns
FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of a book tour for a fair and honest review. This did not influence my opinion of the reading material provided.