Monday, June 10, 2013


Running on Empty: (Book #1 Mending Hearts Series)

I had the perfect life.
Beautiful and loving husband.
Three gorgeous little girls.
Successful career.

The only thing missing was the white picket fence.  I really wanted that fence.

Three years ago, I lost that life.  I lost my husband.  And I lost myself.  But, eventually, I found my way through the darkness.  I’ve made peace with my new life. I have my girls, and that’s all that matters. They are my world.  I have no illusions of ever falling in love again or getting whisked away on a white horse.

But then he came back into my life. On a freakin’ motorcycle.

There’s no way I’ll let him turn my life completely upside down.  Absolutely no way.

The question is…

How long can I keep pretending that I’m happy with my life being right-side up?


"Running on Empty" is the debut novel by L.B. Simmons.  It’s a story of love, loss, grief, friendships and new beginnings. 

Alex married her high school sweetheart, Derek Meyers and they had three beautiful daughters, Nycole, Kyndall and Rylie.  Alex’s life was perfect.  She had the perfect husband, the perfect job and three gorgeous little girls.  One day she received a phone called that turned her life completely upside down.     

It has been three years since Alex’s husband Derek has passed away.  Alex is living life in autopilot.  She is struggling with the loss of Derek, and although she is going through life, she is “Running on Empty”.  Alex has given up any thought of loving again.  She feels as though it would be disrespectful to Derek and has built a wall around her heart. Alex’s main focus is raising her three little girls and focusing on her business with her best friend Harlow. 

Alex’s three beautiful little girls are VERY observant to how Alex has been the past three years.  Alex thinks that she has shielded her three little girls from the grief that she has felt from the death of her husband, but she has not pulled the wool over their eyes.  I loved the relationship that Alex has with her daughters.  While reading the book, I was laughing out loud with the bantering between them.
Alex has been blessed with her best friend, Harlow.  Harlow is a true friend that every girl would be lucky to have.  Harlow has been there to hold Alex’s hand when she lost her husband, to comfort her while she grieved, and to help her with her three daughters.  Harlow speaks the truth whether it is something that Alex wants to hear or not. After three years, Harlow tells Alex that it is time to move on, that Derek would not want to see Alex suffer like she is.  Derek would want Alex to live her life and be happy. 
One day Alex is literally “Running on Empty” and attempts to make it to work with her gas tank flashing on empty, when she runs out of gas along the interstate.  When she exits her car, a man pulls his motorcycle to the side of the highway and offers to help.  The man appears to have a sculpted jaw, perfect nose, a beautiful mouth and perfect kissable mouth.  Once she gets a better look at this gorgeous man, she realizes that it is Blake Morgan, her childhood best friend.  

Growing up Blake and Alex were best friends, they were inseparable, until Derek Meyers comes to town.  Alex left Blake behind and never looked back while she developed a relationship with Derek.  After graduating from high school, Blake Morgan leaves town and heads to Colorado.  It has been several years since he has seen or spoke to Alex.  Blake has had one true love his entire life, yet the person he was in love with had no idea. 
Blake’s presence in town, has turned Alex’s life upside down. After being apart for so many years, once they begin to spend time with each other, she begins to feel again. Alex learns to laugh again, to smile again, to be "Alex" again, not just MOMMY.   

“I feel safe.  I feel protected.  I feel relief.  I feel scared.  I feel vulnerable.  I feel sure.  I feel…… EVERYTHING.” ~ Alex Meyers

Blake finally tells Alex how he feels and Alex is struggling with the thought of loving again.   Throughout the book, I was drawn to Blake.  I was routing for Blake.  

“I love you, Alex.  I loved you when we were just kids… and I’ve continued to love you everyday since.” ~ Blake Morgan

“All I could do was watch it happen and hate myself for never saying anything.  I should have fought harder for you… " ~ Blake Morgan

Blake was literally Alex’s “knight in shining armor”.  Blake loved Alex and cherished her three little girls.  The relationship that develops between Blake and the girls was very heart warming.  I loved when they were going to spend the day at the park….    I absolutely LOVED this scene.  

“Ok – Rylie, is there anything you want to bring with you?” She walks over to Blake and grabs his hand.  “Just Blake!” ~ Rylie

I fell in love with Blake.  He was genuine and wanted nothing more than to see Alex happy.  No matter how many years they were apart, he always loved her. 
 “I’ve always wanted this future.  I was just waiting on you to catch up.” ~ Blake Morgan

Alex opens herself up to the possibilities of a life without Derek.  Alex learns to love again, she realizes that just because she loves Blake, that does not diminish the love she had for Derek.  I cried tears of joy while reading this book, as well as tears of sadness. 

I loved how I fell in love with the secondary characters in this book.  I felt like I knew them personally and immediately connected with them.  "Running on Empty" has touched me in so many ways.  This story will make you stop and think of life and what is important.  Don’t take anything for granted because it can all change in a blink of an eye…


The drive to Mr. and Mrs. Morgan’s house is a familiar one. And it’s a good thing it is, because I’m finding it extremely hard to concentrate on where I’m actually driving at the moment. I am, however, breaking down every possible scenario that could happen when I knock on that door. Good news is, as each and every scenario plays out in my head, they all end in one of two ways. He either speaks to me or he doesn’t. 

That’s a 50% success rate. Not bad when considering my actions last evening…that and those many years I spent dismissing Blake entirely. 

Memories begin to flood my mind as I drive up to the red brick two story house I spent so much time at while growing up. 

…Blake and I climbing the huge oak tree in the front of his house to get to the tree fort we built together when we were seven years old. 

…Both of us playing hide-and-seek in the garden by the side of his house with me yelling at him for cheating...there’s no way he could count to one hundred that fast. 

…The time we made a bike ramp and tried to jump the fence…definitely not one of our best moments. I find myself grinning widely at that memory. Mainly because Blake couldn’t make the jump, ruined his bike, and had to ride his sister’s very pink Barbie bike until he learned his lesson (as his parents put it). I tortured him with that one for years.

Parking my car in the drive, I look at the front door and breathe a heavy sigh. I glance down at my hands as I remove them from the steering wheel – they’re slightly trembling. I shake them in an effort to get rid of the obvious nervous energy and wipe my sweaty palms on my jeans. I run my hair over my ponytail to smooth any fly-aways and exit the car. Looking down while straightening my “Goonies Never Say Die” t-shirt, another memory surfaces. 

Blake and I used to make homemade t-shirts all the time together. Mine were always way better than his, of course, but at least he tried. My favorite one of his was this army green, G.I Joe “Knowing is Half the Battle” t-shirt. He wore it all the time. So much so that the iron on letters started falling off and it eventually read “Koin is alf Bat.” God, I would laugh every time he would wear it. I think that’s why he wore it so much.
I look back at my hands. They are still shaking. It seems that even with the comfort of old memories running through my mind, I still can’t shake off my nerves. Making my way to the front door, I mentally chastise my anxiety. “This is ridiculous, Alex. You’re a grown woman. Act like it,” I mutter while walking up the porch steps. I note there’s only a motorcycle parked in the driveway, which bodes well in my favor. This is going to be difficult enough without having a parental audience. 
Approaching the door, I raise my fist to knock, pausing for another second to take in a cleansing breath. Breathing out, I say a prayer and knock loudly.
I hear his heavy footsteps coming towards the door, followed by the sound of the deadbolt unlocking. I watch nervously as the handle turns, but when I look up, I’m completely unprepared for what is standing directly in front of my face.

As the door flies open, so does my mouth. Blake is standing in front of me, shirtless, wearing only his red and navy plaid pajama bottoms, bare feet on the floor. His light brown hair is all over the place, but incredibly sexy as it falls messily over his forehead and flips out from behind his ears. One look at this man’s stomach renders me momentarily speechless, and I have to fight to keep myself from running my hands over every single hardened ridge of his abs. So instead, I place my hands over my open mouth and start giggling like a ten year old little girl.
Mid-giggle, I notice the door starting to close. I quickly jump into action. I immediately put my foot in the doorjamb and my hands on the door, using all of my weight to keep him from being able to close it – a trick he taught me by the way. 

Shaking his head at me through the opening that I’m desperately trying to maintain, Blake emphatically states, “Nope. Mmm-mm, Alex. It’s too early for this right now. Go home.”

Recovery: (Book #1.5 Mending Hearts Series) - Novella (145 pages)


I have the perfect life.

I’ve finally found my happy ending. 

I fought through the loss of one husband, lucky enough to be given a second chance at a lifetime of happiness.  Settling into our new lives, however, may not be as easy as it seems. 

What really happens after the fairytale ending?  What happens after the prince rescues the princess?  After he sweeps her off her feet and carries her off into the sunset? Do they truly live happily ever after?


This is our story.


Recovery is a novella following the novel, "Running on Empty".  The title leaves us hanging.  Is  Alex still recovering from the loss of her husband, who passed away 3 years ago, or will something occur in their life that she has to recover from?

In Recovery Alex is still strong willed and stubborn as ever. Alex is used to doing things "her" way, since she has for the past 3 years, so it is quite difficult for her to allow people to help.  Being in a relationship is all about compromise.  Alex is soo set in her ways, she needs to learn to let go of the reins just a tad bit. Will Alex compromise and allow Blake to help her? Will Blake begin to get frustrated with Alex for doing everything "her" way?

"Look, Alex.  We've stared this life, together.  So, we eat together, we laugh together, we sleep together, and now we're moving boxes together.  I would like to take this one." ~ Blake

"I didn't want to ask for he--" ~ Alex
"You NEVER ask me for help!" ~ Blake
"You don't need me! You never need me! I don't even know what the hell I'm doing here !"~ Blake

Blake, oh Blake...  He is a total Prince Charming in my eyes.  He loves Alex and her three little girls unconditionally.  Blake loves Nycole, Kyndall and Rylie as if they were his own girls.  I love the relationship that Blake has with Alex's daughters.  It is very heart felt and truly genuine.

Of course, Blake swept me off my feet. His love for Alex is undeniable.  The chemistry between them is off the charts.

"Alex. I love you.  It's always been you.  Your eyes, your lips, your smile, your spirit, your humor, even you God awful temper,"  he breaks with a slight chuckle.  'Every single part of you has been and always will be my reason for living. I know our paths went separate ways for a very long time, but I truly believe everything happens for a reason.  I don't know why and I'm not going to pretend that I do or that I ever will.  But what I do know for certain is now that I have you, I'm never, ever going to let you go again.  You are mine.  Without you, I am nothing."  Blake

Alex's best friend, Harlow is a true friend that every girl would be lucky to have.  Harlow has been there through thick and thin with Alex.  She always knows the right things to say to Alex at the right time.  Alex is blessed to have a friend like Harlow.

"Thank you.  For everything.  I know I've said it a million times, but I wouldn't have made it through the loss of Derek without you.  You've practically raised my children with me, and you know, I think we did a pretty damn good job." ~ Alex

Recovery is a great continuation of Running on Empty.  My heart broke for Blake a few times throughout the book.  I understood Alex's need to do things herself.  We as women, tend to do things ourselves, so we can rest assure, that they are done right.  However, I also understood Blake's point of view.  Alex pushes herself and needs to learn to ask for help or even just let Blake do things.

L.B. Simmons once again had me relating with the characters.  I think that is what I love about her writing is that you can relate to her characters.  I feel like I know Blake and Alex.    I give this novella 2 thumbs up...  L.B. Simmons did it again...

My review is going to shorter than usual, since this is a novella and I do not want to give too much away or give any spoilers.  I absolutely LOVE Running on Empty and Recovery.  I am looking forward for the next installment in the series.  I am curious to see what is in store with Tatum (Trace's sister) and Noah...

This review was prepared by Heather.

I received an ARC for an honest review.


L.B. Simmons is a graduate of Texas A&M University and holds a degree in Biomedical Science.  She has been a practicing Chemist for the last 11 years.  She lives with her husband and three daughters in Texas and writes every chance she gets.  

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 Grand Prize Giveaway 
One set of autographed paperbacks of Running on Empty and Recovery, bookmarks and charm.

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