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Thursday, April 01, 2021

Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway & Author Interview ~ The Harder We Fall by Rebecca Raine



Book Title: The Harder We Fall

Author: Rebecca Raine

Cover Artist: Bec Rivers

Release Date:  March 29,  2021

Genre: MM Romance

Trope: Hurt/Comfort

Themes: Grief, Penance, Personal Growth

Heat Rating: 4 flames

 Length: 70,000 words

It is a standalone book.

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Buy Links - Available in Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US  |   Amazon UK  

For years, I’ve been bound by sleeplessness and sorrow. His voice threatens to set me free.


Insomnia. It’s part of the penance I pay for my greatest mistake. But when an ill-timed doze behind the wheel of my car nearly introduces me to a pole, I know something has to change.

Sleep with Me, a locally-made meditation app, promises a cure. I don’t expect it to work. Nor do I expect to become enthralled by the voice of its creator, Sam Stephenson. His ability to coax forth my nightly surrender is unnerving. I have to meet this man and learn the secret behind his techniques, so I can evict him from my head—and still get a good night’s sleep.

In person, the quiet and reclusive Sam is his own kind of complicated. He needs my business skills as much as I need his meditation skills and we forge an unlikely partnership. But the attraction between us soon flares into passion and, as we grow closer, I start to long for more than my guilty conscience will allow.

I have no right to love, not after the damage I’ve done. How can I give Sam all he deserves, when our chance at a happy ending was ruined before we even met?


“We’re running out of time.”

“So, we are,” I say with a false show of surprise. “It’s my fault, of course.” I pause, trying to figure out how to word the next part without making it obvious this was part of my plan all along. “I could always email you the questions. Then you can take as long as you like to answer them. After you send them back, I’ll write up a plan and we can meet again to discuss it.”

He looks aghast at the idea. “That’s a lot of work. I don’t want to take up too much of your time.”

“Actually, Sam, I’m the one asking for more of your time.” I brandish my most charming smile. It’s worked on men in the past, though I’m not usually trying this hard for the win. Desperation may have knocked the polish off.

Sam’s mouth drops open and somehow he manages to look panicked and thrilled at the same time. “You want to see me again?” he asks. “For the quid pro quo, I mean.”

“If you don’t mind.” I try to look calm, but my pulse is roaring like an express train. If he says no, I’m screwed. “I know this is all a bit odd, me coming to you the way I have. I suppose I hoped, once we met, you might be willing to give this whole process some more time.”

He shifts in his chair again, his gaze dropping. There’s no sign of his earlier trepidation, though, only a subtle wariness. “This was never going to be one hour, was it?”

“Not really, no,” I say, surprised at my honesty. “Not if we’re both going to get what we want from this.”

I can feel his attention all over me, even with his gaze glued to the table. “What exactly do you want from me, Tristan?”

It’s the voice. Right there in front of me. Coming from his mouth. Holy fuck.

Hearing that voice say my name, after all the ways I’ve used and abused his—in curses and moans and whispered pleas—is a goddamned fantasy come to life. Lust surges through my veins and I want to growl in frustration. This infatuation has to end. “I need to stop sleeping with you.”

His head snaps upright and we both gasp.

My right hand slaps over my mouth. “Fuck, I didn’t mean it like that.”

Looking away again, he releases a shaky breath. “It’s all right.” He runs absent hands along his arms, soothing a severe case of goosebumps. Sam is responding to my voice, my words, the same way I inevitably respond to his.

How would we respond to each other’s touch? Stifling a groan, I shift clenched fists into my lap. That’s not what this is about. I’m obsessed enough without learning the texture of his skin and the taste of his—

Sam starts to laugh, really laugh. “That stupid name,” he manages to say between breaths. “Sleep with Me. It wasn’t even my idea, but it certainly does get a reaction.” There’s another peel of laughter, as if he’s releasing all the tension from his body, and I find myself joining in. Every time we look at each other it gets worse and before I know it my stomach is sore from laughing. It feels good to laugh at myself. Weird, but good.

“Let me rephrase,” I say as we start to regain our composure. “What I mean is, now you’ve succeeded in getting me to sleep, I want to figure out how to do it on my own.”

“Should be easy enough. It’s probably something in the phrasing.”

Reality seeps back in, killing off the last of my amusement. “No, it’s something else.” Sam isn’t the first person to tell me to let go of my guilt. My mother used to say it constantly. It wasn’t your fault, Tristan. You shouldn’t blame yourself.She didn’t believe her words any more than I did, but she tried. “I don’t know what it is about you that’s different. I don’t think it’s necessarily something you can teach me, but whatever it is, I need to figure it out.”

“So, what’s the plan?” he asks with a baffled expression. “Are you going to hang around me until you get your answer through osmosis or something?”

“Maybe? I don’t know.” I drop my head into my hands. “Honestly, I’m making this up as I go along.”

“You and me both,” he says with a snort. “I don’t know if I can give you the answer you’re looking for, Tristan. But I’ll try.”

Slumping back in my chair, I release a sigh. “Thank you, Sam.”

He smiles that tiny smile and I try not to drool when his cheeks turn pink. “It’s my pleasure.”

My review:

★★★★☆ (4,5)

Two broken character, two men in a need of love. 

The story was really great, I loved Sam and Tristan's story. They both had demons in their life and when both characters are in this situation, the story could get both really good or really bad. In this case, it was really good!

Tristan, who has insomnia, and haven't slept in 8 years because of one event in his past. I couldn't wait to find out what his demon was, why he couldn't sleep and why was he so desperate and afraid of love. 

Sam, who has a meditation group and app, but is really shy and has social anxiety. Phew, I love awkward, shy characters with anxiety, and Sam was really cute, I could connect with him. His anxitey was well written - just as Tristan's insomnia. It's the best thing in the book. 

Loved the romance between them and loved that Sam was the one who initiated the first step. They were really cute and great together and I loved seeing them grew into their better self. 

Enjoyed the book, and the grand love gesture at the end was perfect too - it wasn't as perfect as you wish, but just as everything in life, nothing can be perfect. 

The epilogue was a bit too much for me. It's syrupy a bit, and it doesn't fit their character, but it was great to see them 5 years later. 


The prized possession you value above all others…

My phone. I run my entire life through my phone. It not only makes phone calls, it tells me what I need to buy at the grocery store, reminds me when it’s time to pick up the kids from school, allows me to post on Instagram and Facebook, AND I can read books on it. Is there anything my phone can’t do? I think not!

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend…

Buying roller blades. I was nearing the end of my very first roller blading session when I fell over and my chin hit the ground. Five cracked teeth and one fractured jaw later, I never went roller blading again.

The temptation you wish you could resist…

YouTube. I adore YouTube. There are so many interesting channels and things to learn. Not to mention all the fan videos for the ‘ships I can’t get enough of. YouTube is the abyss I will happily get lost in for hours at a time.

The film you can watch time and time again…

Chronicle. It’s a sci-fi movie from 2012 that most people don’t seem to have heard of. What would really happen if three teenaged boys ended up with telekinetic powers? I didn’t expect much based on the premise. That movie totally blew me away.

The unlikely interest that engages your curiosity…

Recently, I’ve become interested in improving my handwriting. I’ve always had really terrible handwriting and when I’m drafting scenes I can end up with total scrawl that’s difficult to read later (even for me, and I wrote it). So, I’ve been doing some courses (through YouTube, of course) to improve it. It’s more interesting than it sounds.

The poem that touches your soul…

Invictus by William Ernest Henley. I love the poem so much I incorporated it into one of my novels, All the Broken Pieces.

Your early recollections of writing fiction...

I was in Grade 4 when I wrote a story for school. It was a sweeping saga set during the American Civil War (I’d recently watched Gone with the Wind) and featured a brave and beautiful heroine. It had some minor historical inaccuracies (like the heroine finding out the war was over when she heard it on the radio) but I clearly remember getting lost in the telling of that tale. Then, one day, I arrived at school to be told I was supposed to have finished it over the weekend. I hurriedly wrote a ‘and then I woke up’ ending and handed it in. The teacher loved it… except for the disappointing ending. I don’t blame her.

The philosophy that underpins your life…

You don’t rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems. Improve your systems and achieving your goals becomes inevitable.

The character you enjoyed writing the most…

Of all my characters, Jeremy from Everything We Need and All the Broken Pieces, was probably the most ‘real’ to me. He’s the character I never made up. Instead, he waltzed into my head, fully formed, and introduced himself. So, yeah, he was probably the most fun.

The character you found difficult to write…

When I first started working on The Harder We Fall I would say that I asked my muse for a character and she brought me the saddest person she could find and said, “Here you go, hang out in this guy’s head for a while.” I even picked his name because it means ‘full of sorrow’. There were days when spending time with Tristan was tough, but it was worth it to help him achieve his happy ending.

The book you enjoyed planning/writing the most…

The Experiment. I never felt like I had to plot that book. Instead, the whole story downloaded into my head fully formed and all I had to do was roll with it. There was still a lot of work involved in the actual writing part, but I always knew the story was there. That took a ton of the pressure off, leaving me free to have fun with it.

How it all began…

The first spark for The Harder We Fall came to me when I started using a local meditation app. The instructor on the app was a man and I was struck by how pleasant and soothing his voice was. Suddenly, I had an image of another man who was listening to the app because he suffered from chronic insomnia and he was desperate to get some sleep. When he heard the voice, his reaction was much stronger. He became enthralled by it, seduced by it. Most importantly, it gave him the one thing he needed so badly: sleep.

I knew the man’s insomnia was caused by guilt he carried about a past mistake. To cure it, he would have to deal with that underlying guilt. He really didn’t want to deal with his guilt. But sleep is a basic human need. Sleep deprivation is a form of torture and he hadn’t slept well in a long time. That’s the kind of motivation you want for a character.

How I wrote it…

I became an outlining queen when I was planning this book. My last book, The Experiment, seemed to plot itself. The Harder We Fall was the complete opposite. I sat down with very little idea of what the story would be about (other than the previously mentioned spark) and started brainstorming. Ideas were tossed around. Potential characters came and went. I changed my mind about the opening chapter about five times. By the time I started the serious writing, I knew what would happen throughout the book.

Of course, I didn’t stick to the outline completely. Stories evolve as they are written. But that outline really helped stop me from getting lost or running into any creative blocks.

What’s it all about…

The Harder We Fall is ultimately a book about rediscovering hope for the future. Tristan and Sam both enter the story feeling irrevocably bound by their circumstances. Tristan is stuck in a time. Sam is stuck in a place. It’s only with each other’s support that they begin to find a way forward in life. The Harder We Fall is a reminder that it doesn’t matter how long it’s been since we hit the ground. A single new idea, a new way of looking at the world, a new hand to hold, can give us the strength to get back up and try again.

Thank you.

About the Author 

Rebecca is a long-time lover of all things romance. Whether it’s a book, movie, or real life, she will always have more fun if there’s a love interest thrown into the mix. She lives in Queensland, Australia with her very own hero husband, two quirky kids and one big, black dog. Other than reading and writing books, her favourite things include loud music, enjoying a glass of wine on the patio, organising everything in existence, and spending too much time on the Internet.

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