‘Counting Daisies (The Counting Series Book 1)’ by Nicola Haken #LGBT #BlogTour #Review #Excerpt #Giveaway

Title: Counting Daisies
Author: Nicola Haken
Genre: MM Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2016

 

Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side.

 

But… “Kids are stupid.”

When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge.

Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence…

Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love.

Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he

destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else?

“Everybody leaves.”

“They leave or they die.”

But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?

review[1] (1)

Nicola Haken has become one of my favorite authors. No matter what she writes it is fantastic. She makes you fall in love with her characters, shatters your heart and then slowly glues it back together.  Counting Daisies is spectacular. Starting with the prologue my heart was hurting, by the next chapter I was in tears and it got worse after that. I mean big ugly tears I couldn’t stop from falling but I so entranced with the story couldn’t stop reading either.

Cameron and Dylan have been best friends since they were little, then their feelings grew into much more. Unfortunately, unforeseen events happen that change everything they had planned out.  As Cameron moves on, he fulfills his dreams.  It isn’t until he runs into the past that he becomes aware how much he has missed it.  Only things have changed. It will take courage, strength and love to be able to pull through it and hope to have what should have always been..

Cameron’s love and patience is amazing.  What he feels for Dylan is so special.  Dylan was dealt crap hand at life, but hopefully with help, that amazing boy he used to be will able to shine once again.  Dylan is sweet and caring, the deep love he feels for Cameron is true and beautiful.

When the time is right and they finally come together.  It is absolutely beautiful. It is how their first time should have been so many years ago. All the intimate scenes that followed were just as spectacular.  Yes they were hot, but it was so much more than just hot steamy sex.  It was love and you could feel how deep their feelings ran.

As for the secondary characters, when the story began I really didn’t think I would like Paul. I was glad to be proven wrong. He is harsh and straight forward, but he is also caring and supportive. He was what Dylan needed and I was grateful that he had someone like him around.  Paul was also Cam’s rock.  No matter what Cam needed he was there.

Derek, boy he cracks me up.  Not only is he funny he is an all around great guy.  I love his fun banter, his upfront and no sugar-coating attitude. Underneath he is sweet and cares deeply.

It was great to see how all of their friendships grew and how close they all became.

Unfortunately we didn’t get to see much of Cam’s parents. However, there is one perfect scene that brought tears to my eyes. It made me love his mother so much.  The scene may have been a short but it was powerful.  It showed the love a mother should always have for their children, biological or not.

Reading Counting Daisies not only brought a wonderful story but opens your eyes to things an outsider doesn’t see. It brings light to how it is for an addict and the ones that care for them.  I love a good story that touches real life circumstances.  Nicola Haken did this ten fold.  It is fantastic and I highly recommend reading Dylan and Cam’s story. I am hoping that Derek and Paul will get their story next.

pot of gold

“This is a deep and powerful book with the main theme which is refreshing less about the path of a relationship and way more about the real life gritty obstacles that come on the way of their HEA.” – Reader Review

“This book was phenomenal. I cried so many tears. Story was heart breaking and heartwarming all at the same time.” – SiKReviews

“This was a beautifully crafted story of friendship, love, bonds, addictive behaviour and heartache. It was hugely emotional in parts, and Nicola doesn’t hold back.” – 2 Girls & Their Kindles


He clung to my shirt, his knuckles turning white. “Make it s-stop.” 
“I…I don’t know how.”
Fuck this. Fuck heroin. Why the hell would someone do this to themselves? I’d never seen this level of pain before that hadn’t resulted in death, and even that was only on TV. 
Dylan sobbed into my chest and I held him while he did. My arms were all I had to offer. He remained so cold despite my palms rubbing up and down his back, and he was dirty, too – dried up vomit sticking to his skin and hair. I’d never felt so helpless in all my life.
Needing to do something, anything, I climbed to my feet, lifting his body with me. “Come on,” I encouraged, struggling to take his weight on my own. “Try and walk for me.”
He whimpered and mumbled but made little effort to move. So, sliding one arm behind his thighs, I scooped him up like a baby, carrying him towards the bath. He clung to my neck, his grip weak, while I turned on the water. I turned the temperature down to barely warm, worried the heat might burn his shivering skin, before lowering him into the bathtub, under the fine spray of the shower. 
His muscles twitched and his eyes closed as he hugged his knees to his scrawny chest. Taking a sponge and some shower-gel, I scrubbed softly up and down his trembling body, gently manoeuvring his arms and legs when needed so I could clean every inch of him.
“I’m tired, Cam,” he barely whispered, dropping his head to the side.
My heart ached, like it was trapped inside a vice that was trying to crush its ability to beat, as I lathered some shampoo into his fair hair. “You can sleep soon. Nearly done.” 
I tried not to cry as I massaged his scalp. I wanted to be strong, but I’d never felt more vulnerable. Removing the showerhead from the hook on the wall, I hovered it over his head, rinsing away the tea-tree scented suds, before doing the same to the rest of his skin. After shutting the water off, I grabbed a large towel from the heated rail next to the toilet and rubbed it over his skin in the bathtub before lifting him out and doing the same to his back.
“I-I can’t d-do it anymore,” Dylan cried as I wound my arm around his waist, urging him to take a step.
“You are doing it. It’s almost over.” I had no idea if my words were the truth, but I had to hope they were for both of our sakes. Honestly, I felt like I couldn’t do it anymore either.
Nicola lives in Rochdale, England with her husband and four children (six if you include the dog and cat!) She is the author the author of the m/m romance Souls of the Knight series, and is currently working on a standalone with new boys, James and Theo, due for release early 2016. When she is not busy playing with her imaginary book friends (or talking about them with real life friends!) she can usually be found carrying out her ordinary mum/housewife/all round slave duties. Oh, and if the kids ever ask, she moonlights as the Pink Power Ranger while they’re sleeping…

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