Meet Luke Crawley in Blake Austin’s debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love!
Cawley is a broken man. After his wife’s tragic death, he lost
everything that mattered in the world. Now, his life is filled with hard
days, harder nights, and a steady stream of alcohol and the wrong kind
of women. Nothing helps.
Until the letters arrive on Luke’s doorstep.
Nine envelopes. Nine messages. Nine chances to find his way back.
Goode is looking for the real thing. After fighting her way out of a
string of bad relationships, she’s ready for something
different–something true.
meets Luke while piecing her life together, and right away she can tell
that he’s different. Drawn together by fate and the desire to heal, Rae
and Luke discover new ways to mend their broken hearts–one letter at a
Discover Blake Austin’s debut novel of loss, redemption, and ever-enduring love.
was about twenty minutes early for my shift, but I got up to the bar,
grabbed a rag, started wiping it down, bussing some dishes.
Luke,” Jake said, watching me work. “You win the lotto or something?
Royals win the pennant last night and I forgot to watch?”
“I’m just in a good mood, that’s all,” I said.
thought about it a moment longer, decided I should tell him more.
Impart some wisdom learned from my not-particularly-advanced years.
everything’s dark for so damn long and your eyes get used to it,” I
said, “just a little glimmer of sunshine lights up the whole world.”
He nodded, then grabbed a bus bin and headed back into the kitchen.
though, Warren wasn’t impressed. He was sitting by one of the daytime
barflies, but he’d stopped talking and was just watching me. I was on
thin ice, and I knew it. I couldn’t afford to lose my job. A
heartbroken, drunk, angry widower is probably as unemployable as the
average ex-con.
I came on at
the end of the day shift. Warren liked tending bar during the day,
because it meant just shooting the shit with the regulars. That day I
had a smile for every customer, sparse words of wisdom like day drunks
want to hear. Tending bar wasn’t my dream. But to hell with letting that
make me lazy. I kept the place clean, I poured drinks like I cared.
was getting into the swing of it when happy hour kicked in and a few
more people filtered through the door. Couple of middle-aged bikers, a
retired couple that parked their RV out front.
door swung open again, letting in a little bit of that early-evening
cold, and I glanced up to see a crowd of three women, with two men. One
of the women was a reddish blonde, radiant. Sort of stole the light out
of the room. It was Rae. Our eyes met and her smile gave the room back
its light.
She’d been in jeans
at the shelter, but she was in a blue dress now and she looked damn fine
in either. Took my mind right off Maggie, faster than I thought it
would be possible. I met her eyes, and she gave out a little gasp and
giggle. I was probably smiling in surprise myself.
crowd came over to the bar. I’d thought the other four were two
couples, but I realized pretty quick that the black girl with the afro
was dating the quiet white guy in a beard and glasses and tattoos, and
that the other guy was trying to impress Rae. He had a John Deere hat,
but his clothes were way too clean for me to buy it that he worked on a
farm. I hated him, right off. I probably would have hated him if he was
the best guy in the world, though. The other girl, she was tall, latina,
and for some indiscernible reason was interested in the poser farmer.
of the time, I’m awful at reading people. But for some reason, at work I
can tell you everything about everyone who walks in the door. About
who’s into who, about who had a bad day at work. Who wants to get drunk
and miserable, who wants to get drunk and happy, who wants to get drunk
and start trouble. Maybe it’s some magic of the job, maybe it’s just how
people carry themselves at a bar. Helps with tips, that’s for certain.
You wingman right, and the money flows in.
Warren, he likes to upsell them drinks when he’s doing that. Get them excited about the top shelf. Not me.
“Hey, Rae,” I said.
“Luke,” she said.
Deere looked at me like I was the scum of the earth. And maybe I was,
but if I was the scum then he was… I don’t know, something worse than
scum. Wannabe scum.
introduced me to her friends. Nicole had the afro, her boyfriend was
Eric. The girl with bad taste was Irina, and John Deere had some name
but honestly it went in one ear and out the other. He was John Deere to
me. Yeah, maybe I’m an asshole.
how do you know this guy?” Deere asked, tossing me a look that said I
clearly wasn’t good enough to be friend with someone like Rae.
he came in just the other day. Adopted the sweetest dog, a bloodhound.”
She turned to me, flashing that dimple high on her cheek. “How is he?
You guys call a truce yet?”
great,” I said. “I mean, he’s probably at home right now, eating
everything I’ve ever owned, but I figure I was due for a purge anyway,
It was a lame attempt at humor, but Rae laughed.
“What can I get you all? Friend of Rae’s is a friend of mine.”

About the Author
Austin is a guitar playing father of one, who lives in Los Angeles.
He’s written music for as long as he can remember and was inspired to
add book writing to his repertoire. 9 Letters is his debut novel.
For updates: Follow Blake Austin on Facebook here:  http://on.fb.me/1ZUj6sR

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I am not sure what I really expected when I picked up Nine Letters by Blake Austin. It is a well written and well developed debut novel.
And I am pretty sure I will pick up the next book by this author too.
But something in the focus of this novel is not well balanced. If it is meant as a story of healing than it will work, as it is very focused on that subject if you ask my opinion.
It is not a love story by all means. The focus is on Luke and his loss which is fine for a story about healing.
Rae is not an equal partner in this story this is not a romance – it feels more like Rae is a supporting act in Luke’s healing.
I noticed quite early that the focus was off, when I thought that my favorite female in the book was Luke’s dead wife – go figure. She was so strong throughout the whole book that there was really no air left for any romance with Rae.
Therefore – my vote would be some healing stars for this NOT Romance and the knowledge that there is a new interesting author out there … 


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