Title: Sweet Soul
Series: Sweet Home #4
Author: Tillie Cole
Age group: New adult
Genre: Contemporary romance
Release date: 15th December 2015
One shy lost soul.
One silent lonely heart.
One love to save them both.
Life has never been easy for twenty-year-old Levi Carillo. The youngest of the Carillo boys, Levi is nothing like his older brothers. He isn’t dark in looks or intimidating to everyone he meets. In fact, he’s quite the opposite.
Haunted by a crippling shyness and the tragic events of his past, Levi spends his days with his head buried in his books, or training hard for his college football team. Too timid to talk to girls, Levi stays as far away as possible and completely on his own… until he saves the life of a troubled pretty blonde, a troubled pretty blonde that might just be the exception to his rule.
Elsie Hall is homeless. Or at least that’s all anyone ever sees. Everyday is a fight for survival on the cold streets of Seattle, everyday a struggle to find food and keep warm. Alone in life—a life that’s dangerous and cruel—her will to keep going is an ever-losing battle. In her world of silence, Elsie has given up hope that her life will contain anything but constant struggle and pain… until the beautiful boy she has severely wronged comes to her rescue at precisely the right time.
Elsie grabbed her pen and paper; I took her hand. I walked her out of the pool house to the kitchen door. I opened the door, and Elsie walked through. When she glanced over her shoulder, I said, “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Elsie smiled and walked up the stairs to her room. Just as I was about to shut the door, Lexi appeared from the darkened dining room, a sleeping Dante in her arms.
I opened my mouth to say something when Lexi beat me to it. “Dante woke up for a feed a while ago. I was in the dining room when I saw Elsie run by and leave. I panicked at first thinking she was running away, then I saw you by your pool house. Saw you let her inside.”
My face was on fire as Lexi spoke, rocking my nephew in her arms. I didn’t say anything, but I clearly didn’t need to. “You like her. A lot,” Lexi stated. Unable to lie to my brother’s wife, I nodded my head.
Lexi moved closer. “You’re taking her out tomorrow?”
Lexi nodded, then went to walk back up the stairs. Before she did, she turned round, and looked like she wanted to say something, but stopped herself. Needing to know what it was, I questioned, “What?”
Lexi looked in the direction of the stairs, in the direction Elsie went, and she said, “I think she’s been through more than we can understand, Lev. I’ve tried to talk to her every day, but she avoids conversation completely.” Lexi sighed and added, “I think she’s really broken inside. Severely. I think there’s something dark in her past that’s haunting her.”
My heart ached, and just as I turned to go back to my room, I whispered, “Then we’re the same. That’s what makes her so special to me.”
“Lev…” I heard Lexi hush out softly, but I was out of the door and into the pool house before she could react.
My mind raced with what Lexi said, but it wasn’t anything I couldn’t already see. Elsie didn’t speak, she was too timid and shy. She’d lost her mamma, like I had lost mine. And I could see she was lonely, just like me.
Taking off my jacket, I walked to the table to clear away the mugs, when I saw a piece of paper was lying on the top. I wondered what it was. Suddenly I recognized Elsie’s handwriting.
Moving round the table, I dropped to the seat. The paper was folded in two, my name written across the top.
My heartbeat picked up speed as I opened the paper. At first I was confused by the centralized column of words, then my heart burst apart when I read a poem that Elsie had written:
Alone and lost, appeared this saint,
With pretty gray eyes, darkness can’t taint.
He stole her from cold, from blustering storm,
Kind and gentle, he took her from harm.
Fearful of dark, he created her light,
A jar of gold, chasing demons of night.
Telling stories of love, he brought to her life,
A moment by his side: no pain, no strife.
He gifted her poems, a gesture on whim,
With every word read, she could see only him.
She counted the days until he returned home,
The boy with his light, the girl not alone.
Invisible to all, a shade wandering in dark,
He brought back her faith, with his pure kind heart.
I love poetry, Levi.
Thank you for the book.
Amazon & USA Today Best Selling Author, Tillie Cole is a Northern girl through and through. She originates from a place called Teesside on that little but awesomely sunny (okay I exaggerate) Isle called Great Britain. She was brought up surrounded by her English rose mother — a farmer’s daughter, her crazy Scottish father, a savagely sarcastic sister and a multitude of rescue animals and horses.