In The Absence Of You
Publication date: June 28th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance
Aishe is running. Running from the burn of a love she knows will consume her.
Running from a soul mate she’s never even met.
If only she hadn’t been hired as a merch girl for the hottest indie band on earth.
If only she’d never laid eyes on its front man, Emil—intense, sexy, and so unlike the men of her culture.
If only she hadn’t fallen onto his lips, then into his bed.
If only her flame hadn’t exploded into a full-on forest fire.
If only Emil’s heart didn’t belong to someone else.
Emil is running. Running from a broken heart.
Running from who he was with her.
If only Zoe hadn’t left.
If only Aishe hadn’t been right there.
If only she hadn’t been so damn gorgeous—insistent—different.
If only he could control himself around her.
AISHEI come from a family that burns with love. You wouldn’t understand unless you were one of us. I’m not just talking my father and my mother—I’m talking every one of my ancestors. It’s in our genetic build to spend all of our energy on love.
Once we come of age, it strikes and blazes with a fire that eats you alive. This love is a plague that boils in my race and in my culture, and I wouldn’t know a different way unless I’d broken free and seen strangers love with milder flames.
Tonight, my eyes go from the merchandise on my table to the blond-headed burst of life hopping off the stage. His gaze shimmers with amusement, a cocky lip twitching as he slaps high-fives to guys and pinches girl-cheeks on his way over.
“Aishe! You got those super-tight, hot little tees with the broken heart thingy on the front? The ones the chicks dig?” he asks once he’s in front of me, Emil, the vocalist of Clown Irruption, one of the hottest alt-rock indie-bands out there. I’ve been their merch girl for a few months now. Each night, I zoom in on Emil with less and less difficulty.
“Yeah. Troll picked them up this morning,” I say referring to their tour manager.
“This is so cool—finally we see actual merch money,” Emil laughs out. Then he sets a hand to the table and squints at me. “You’ve done much better than your cousin. I mean, Shandor, man.” He shakes his head playfully. “He couldn’t draw dudes to the stand worth shit.”
My face loosens in a smile. I send a subtle glance at Shandor, who’s busy wrapping things up on stage, coiling cables and breaking down drums. To sell T-shirts wasn’t what he burned for. Shandor was born with the plague of our people too, but he hasn’t found his beloved yet. My people, we need something to obsess over, so if it’s not a man’s love for a woman or vice versa, it’s something else, and Shandor, he loves his music. Once the band promoted him from merch guy to monitors on stage, he recommended me to fill his spot, and voilà, here I am.
Shandor raises his head and stills on us, focus intent from under dark locks. He’s got a sixth sense for when guys chitchat with me. Like me, he left our traveling community years back, but the need to protect any girl of our people is so deep-rooted I doubt he ever questions it. Shandor would do everything in his power to stop any man, employer or not, from toying with his little cousin.
I straighten so that I’m tall for my height. Though I’m not overly curvy, I’m lean and strong. Supposedly, I’m also fiery, a bit fierce, a bit ferocious, traits that make me who I am, traits I don’t need here in the outside world as opposed to amongst those I was born to.
I intimidate most men with the stance I take right now, but I can’t intimidate Shandor. He glares, telling me without words what not to do, and next he pierces his stare into Emil’s back. Oblivious, Emil juts his index finger at the case of lukewarm beers behind me, wiggles it back and forth quickly, lips pursed in anticipation. “Hand over one of those babies, will ya?”
One thing I've learned from reading Sunniva Dee's work is that nothing's what it seems and she always manages to surprise me.
This did on both accounts.
I knew before going in that this was dark and different prior to her other works.
I was deeply intrigued by Aishe's ancestry and their history of a certain affliction
called "love fire".
She was a very interesting character with so many layers. Especially how "love fire" had influenced her and her cousin Shandor and their families was very riveting storytelling.
It was heartbreaking to witness Emil and him spiraling out of control.
Not for one moment did I resent
him and his actions.
I was just feeling him and his heart break
and as awful as it sounds
it was beautiful.
Not what he went through and had to go through but how Sunniva Dee chose to capture it
and bring awareness to it.
Aishe and Emil's relationship was complicated and my emotions were all over the place.
I had certain goals/expectations for both of them and Dee delivered what
I had imagined in my head.
This story took me on a ride. An emotional one. It's not your usual contemporary romance and I appreciate that. Sunniva Dee's writing and storytelling is exceptional.
I love that I don't know what to expect from her stories but I always leave satisfied and mesmerized when I reach the final page.
I'm so ready to read more about the guys from Clown Irruption.
Between studies, teaching, and advising, Sunniva has spent her entire adult life in a college environment. Most of her novels are new adult romance geared toward smart, passionate readers with a love for eclectic language and engaging their brain as well as their heart while reading.
Born in the Land of the Midnight Sun, the author spent her early twenties making the world her playground. Southern Europe: Spain, Italy, Greece--Argentina: Buenos Aires, in particular. The United States finally kept her interest, and after half a decade in Los Angeles, she now lounges in the beautiful city of Savannah.
Sometimes, Sunniva writes with a paranormal twist (Shattering Halos, Stargazer, and Cat Love). At other times, it's contemporary (Pandora Wild Child, Leon's Way, Adrenaline Crush, Walking Heartbreak, and Dodging Trains, coming in late March 2016).
This author is the happiest when her characters let their emotions run off with them, shaping her stories in ways she never foresaw. She loves bad-boys and good-boys run amok, and like in real life, her goal is to keep the reader on her toes until the end of each story.
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