“I love that you love me, professor.”
“I love loving you, beauty.”
BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL BEAUTIFUL!!!
A stunning conclusion to one of the most beautifully written and intensely passionate love stories I have ever read. Dean and Liv’s romance is simply breathtaking!!
What makes the story in this series standout among romance books is that it is about an already-married couple. It begins after the “happily-ever-after” where most romances end. Over the course of the past two books, we’d seen this couple survive heartache and tragedy together, and we’d also seen the pure, raw strength and limitless depth of their love for each other. And in this book, we saw their story come full circle. This book in so many ways is about healing, hope, and the beauty of knowing with all your heart that the love you feel for your soul mate is limitless.
The writing is perfectly detailed and deeply evocative. I honestly read this book as slowly as I possibly could — savouring each every word, and feeling every emotion to the max. Even apart from the story, just the reading experience alone is incredible.
The depth of emotion I felt for Dean and Liv was so powerful that I often would read for pages on end with tears in my eyes just because I was feeling so much.
Please note that this book is the continuation of and conclusion to the romance that began in Arouse and Allure. It follows the story of the same couple, Dean & Liv, and is not a standalone. I am not going to speak about the plot at all here because anything I say will be a spoiler. But what I will say is that I adored the direction that the storyline went in and honestly, I loved every single word of this book.
Awaken delivered everything I possibly want and more. I loved that I was never once frustrated with the plot — I mean, sure there were times when my heart was in my throat, but it was always in a good way. Looking back on my reading experience, I have only positive things to say and that’s rare.
The story was told in alternating POVs so we got to see both sides of the story. The pacing was excellent and I felt invested in each and every scene. Given Dean and Liv’s situation at this point in their lives, this book focused a lot on the balance of them healing themselves before being able to heal their relationship. But with the way it was written, I could feel their connection at all times.
It brought a smile to myself watching Liv find her inner strength. She’d always had it but seeing her grow more and more confident in herself was so fulfilling. I knew how far she’d come and I just felt so proud of her.
And Dean? Gosh, I can’t even describe how much I loved him. That sexy professor made my heart pound, race, flutter, and melt. If I had to pick only one book hero to bring to life, Dean West would be a top candidate. That man was just… wow. The way he loved Liv was honestly unlike any other hero I’ve ever read. He wasn’t just in love with her as a whole, he was also in love with every little part of her — each individual piece that made up Liv. He didn’t just see a perfect version of her, he saw all of her — her flaws, her beauty, her insecurities, her strengths… and he loved them all.
“My husband doesn’t just love me. He knows HOW to love me. He knows what I need and when I need it, sometimes even better than I do. He knows how to unfold all the tight, tough parts of me and smooth them out with the glide of his hand. He knows how to prove that he – and only he – understands ever crevice of my soul. He knows how to remind me that I am forever safe within his heart.”
He was sexy, chivalrous, a little kinky, a lot charming, and his powerful, primal need to protect Liv at all times melted my heart. I could feel it at all times. It came through in each one of his actions.
“I’m not going to apologize… Yes, I want to protect you. You’re my wife. I’d fucking kill for you, Liv, and if that makes me a possessive bastard of a husband, then fine. That’s what I am. I’m not going to change either. I love you too goddamned much.”
It also bears mentioning that these books are not just emotional, they’re also intensely erotic. SCORCHING HOT!!! I mean really — you will be fanning yourself for pages on end. Dean and Liv’s chemistry sizzled, it burned, it smouldered. It was palatable. But what I felt brought so much added depth to it all was that it was their LOVE for each other and the raw emotions behind every one of their love scenes that gave them such a strong impact. It was pure passion.
“I want to grab her and shove her up against the nearest wall. Rip her clothes off and fuck her until the earth trembles and the stars explode. Until the universe shatters.”
This book was filled with these powerfully charged moments that I felt so deeply that sometimes I would have to stop reading for a minute and just sit there letting it sink in. It beautifully highlighted each moment in the story that should be unforgettable.
“And, just like that, I fall wildly in love with my husband all over again…. He smiles, sliding his thumb across my lips, his gaze warm. Pleasure fills me at that look, so replete with love and tenderness that I’m reminded anew that together we can withstand anything.”
What I loved most about Dean & Liv, and what I’d always felt regarding them, was that there was absolutely no doubt that they were soul mates. Their chemistry, their connection, their desire, their longing, their need for each other… I felt it all. God. They were SO in love with each other, undeniable meant for each other — two halves of a whole. But naturally, as with most marriages I think, they had their issues to work through and their struggles to overcome. But I loved that I always had this strong feeling in my heart that they would make it.
This wasn’t a short book (none of them are actually) and a lot happened but there were no slows points at all. I fanned myself, swooned over and over again, and at times my heart nearly stopped, but the bottom line was that I enjoyed every single moment, every scene, and every word.
And my God. I have to say this again: The writing was exquisite. Just BREATHTAKING. Nina Lane has a gift with words and an amazing ability to make you feel every single scene she writes.
“…my beautiful wife. Wanting her is like breathing. Needing her is in my blood. And loving her will always be the beat of my heart.”
This is the kind of book that raises the bar. This is the kind of book that ruins me for all others. This is the kind of book that is the reason I fall into book funks because, after a book this beautiful, it’s like — how can anything compare??
“My white knight. My beautiful, strong, brave husband who loved me more than I ever knew it was possible to be loved.
This man would give me the stars, the moon, the sun. He has slayed monsters for me and alongside me. He’s battled through dark, tangled woods with me because he has never once wavered in his belief that we are meant to be forever. He would do anything for me. For us.
He’s a rare gift, my husband, perfect and flawed and completely, unreservedly mine.”
At it’s heart this is a story about a couple whose passionate, unwavering love for each other defied, survived, and held strong throughout everything life threw at it. A couple who worked everyday at their relationship. It was inspiring, believable, and beautiful.
“Some things will never change, Liv,” he says. “We’ll always fall asleep and wake up together. I’ll always make you coffee in the morning and teaser you about your bathrobe. We’ll always love each other to distraction, argue, hold hands and kiss and awful lot. And I promise you that no matter what, we’ll always have us.”
By the end, tears were just pouring down my face at the sheer beauty of the story. The ending was absolutely gorgeous and the very last words of the book are. just. perfect.
Bottom line, I can’t recommend this series highly enough. The depth of emotion just hits you so hard and builds with each book. I felt the passion and the healing and I understood the mistakes. I’ve honestly almost never read of two people AS strongly in love with each other as Dean and Liv — they had their ups and downs but WOW when you see the way it all comes together, it’s just breathtaking.
This book was perfection. Pure perfection!
“You and me, professor,” I whisper.
“You and me, beauty.”