“I love you. Because you are everything, not nothing. Because it’s what you need, it’s what you asked of me. And I’ll do anything you’d ask me to. Because love is accepting the rough with the smooth, and right now, I’ll take you anyway I can get you.”
OMG!! This was such a GORGEOUS ROMANCE!! It was everything I was hoping it would be — heartfelt, sexy and full of feels!! And let me tell you, this hero was PURE ALPHA SWOON material!! If you love tortured heroes, strong heroines, gorgeous family dynamics, no stupid drama, and sexy swoon-filled love stories, you have to read this book!
So the story is about Elliot, a famous rock star with a tragic, painful past that had left him scarred inside and out. After child services removed him from his abusive home, he’d been bounced from foster family to foster family until he ended up in a group home which was where he bonded with a set of boys who would one day become his bandmates. They were not only close friends, but had truly become a family — a close knit support network that were with each other through everything and shared an understanding of all that they’d survived together.
When he and his band arrive home from an exhausting international tour, he’s looking forward to some rest but an unexpected request comes through for him to visit a children’s hospital. It’s there that he comes across a young teen boy lying in bed with severe burns and a heart-breaking story that he can relate to on a very personal and painful level. Having been through something very similar himself, he’s compelled to reach out and help this kid however he can. And when he meets the boy’s mother everything changes for him. She’s beautiful, shy, and makes his heart race. He wants to help her and her boy in a way he can’t even explain and he can’t stop thinking about either one.
“You’re taking care of Daniel,” Elliot said calmly… “And I just decided I am taking care of you. Food. Shower, for as long as you need, then bed.”
“You can’t just kidnap me,” Kendalee argued. “Ever hear of consent?”
“It would appear that I am. And I can just see the two of us in court. Your honor, the woman needed some goddamn food, and I made her eat it. I am a cruel man,” he said somberly.
She of course can’t believe that the rock star from her son’s posters is really standing there trying to get her to accept his help and maybe coax her on a date or two but she also can’t explain the way she feels drawn towards him…
“You moaned when my lips were on your skin.”
“You’re determined to ruin my mornings, aren’t you?” she asked, but the stern face she was trying to maintain was slipping, and he saw the makings of a smile in the twitch at the corner of her mouth.
“Hey, you only need to say the word, and I’ll not only make your morning, I’ll make your whole fucking week.”
The mask fell completely as she burst out laughing as he’d intended her to. “Honestly, Elliot. I have no idea what to do with you.”
“Well, you can leave that to me, because I’ve got at least twenty idea of what to do with you.”
Now, she’s about a decade older than his twenty-seven years so the age gap was an adjustment for both of them. But the numbers meant little when compared to their growing love for each other. He was falling in love for the first time and she was experiencing true love after years of being in a loveless marriage.
Beware. Here come the shouty caps now because YOU GUYS!!! Elliot is DREAMY. He’s SWOONY, SEXY, HEART-MELING. Gahhh!!! I dare you not to fall in love with him. I’ve always said that good-hearted tortured heroes are my favorite and he fit the bill in every way. I loved the way he cared so deeply for her and how he kept pushing to help her in a way that was always sweet, respectful and never crossed the line.
“It’s cool, Mom.” Daniel grinned at Elliot. “Are you and my mom dating?” He said the word as if it were the craziest idea ever.
… Elliot looked toward her first and took her hand, then turned to Daniel. “Yeah, we are. Is that a problem?”
“No,” Daniel said, confidently. “Just… she deserves… Just take care of her, okay?”
Elliot was definitely one of those “no games, no lies, no bullshit” type of guys (which you all know are my favorite) and whenever things got rough, he just pulled in closer and convinced her to work with him to get through whatever came up together. I also loved the way they TALKED through their issues. There was genuinely no stupid drama in this entire book. The characters made mistakes, but they were honest and understandable ones and it was so heart-warming to see them grow and worth through everything together.
“I’m mad, Elliot. Borderline furious. I don’t know how wise that is. Perhaps I should just go to Rachel’s and sleep on it. We could talk in—”
“No. That’s not us. When things get hard we pull toward each other, never away. Promise me, Lee. It’s the only rule I want.”
I also loved how protective he was of her son. Helping Daniel’s through his trauma also forced Elliot to face his own past and confront everything he’s tried so hard to bury. But it was worth it to him if it mean that he could help this kid in a way no one had been able to help him when he’d needed it.
“As a child,” he said deliberately… “I struggled with the lack of control in my life. I struggled with not feeling safe. Ever. I think that’s why I am able to help Daniel, because I actually know what it feels like to really walk a mile in his shoes.”
This book also had absolutely gorgeous family dynamics. Each book in this series is a standalone about a different couple, but you can read this book as a complete standalone. I had not read any of the other ones and I was never confused. I was able to emotionally connect to all the characters and I genuinely loved reading about this group.
Y’know, not every book is for every reader. And I think every avid reader is on a constant quest to find their next favorite book. Prior to reading this, I DNF’ed two other books in a row. They just weren’t for me. But when that happens it leaves you wondering if maybe it’s you who’s off their game. Then I opened this book and I just instantly instantly connected to it. It’s such a magical feeling every time that happens. I love it. I crave it. This is why I read.
Like I said, if you love tortured swoony heroes, strong single mom heroines, sexy romance, no drama but just the right dash of angsty, emotion, and feels, then this is a book you should read! I loved it and highly recommend it!
Rating: 4.5 stars!! Contemporary Adult Romance, can standalone.
Series of standalones.