“He took something precious from you, your ability to trust… now’s your time to fight and get it back…Just live in the now, Kia, keep livin’ in the now… Fight back and learn to be fearless.“
Oh, I LOVED this book! Seriously swoooooon-worthy hero, vulnerable yet tough-as-nails heroine, and a character-centric story about tortured characters finding love, hope, friendship and healing. A really heart-warming read!
This book had me grinning like an idot from chapter one but always with the undercurrent of a deeper, darker story behind every character. It made me squee, it made me laugh out loud, it made me choked up and teary and it made me swoony 🙂
Kia spends seven years trapped in a love-less abusive marriage to a man who gave her empty promises. When he is suddenly killed, she is liberated and free to live her life again, but she is still shadowed by the pain and fear he instilled in her. Determined to not let this stand in her way, she goes on vacation to Paris where she sees, in her hotel dining room, her celebrity crush/ex-football-star/ex-badass commando, and all-round kind and awesome guy, Sam Cooper. The maitre d’ seats them together and they have an instant and grin-inducing connection that neither of them can deny. From that point on their are inseparable and their beautiful romance begins.
While this book is more focused on character development than some of KA’s other books I’ve read, it still has it’s share of some actions scenes – there are hit men, badass body guards, and even a cameo from Rock Chick’s Lee Nightingale!
I LOVED Sam. He was just what I love in a book hero. He didn’t play games, accepted no bullshit, and was crazy as all hell for Kia. He was deeply perceptive and read Kia very well. He understood that she was damaged by her ex-husband, understood her fears and concerns and did everything in his power to help her deal with it, never giving up on digging to find the truth behind her emotions, not allowing her to hide true feelings about anything from him (both in happy times and in fights) and helping her heal and learn to trust again.
“I know you’re freaked, I know you’re scared and I know you can come up with a million reasons that you’re not ready, all of which will be excuses. But now that I know exactly what’s behind those shields you got up… you gotta know that knowin’ that makes me no less into you… In fact, it makes me more into you… And you’ll learn, because I’ll prove it to you, I’ll never hurt you.”
He wasn’t perfect though, he made mistakes along the way, but he reads her, sees that he’s hurt her, apologizes and reassures her that it’ll never happen again.
“In a healthy relationship, you’re allowed to get pissed and in my face. Fuck, I need you to do that so I know what buttons not to push, where I can’t go and avoid those places. And I’ll do the same for you. Its part of learning how to take care of each other. Its fightin but its a form of communication and it’s also a form of trust. We have words, we come to terms, we learn about each other and we move on stronger.”
Honestly, it was so refreshing to see a totally functional couple from the first time they meet. Any obstacle that came in their way, they found a way around.
“You got one life, never use it just to breathe.”
And I LOVED Kia. I think she is my favorite KA heroine so far. She was smart, funny, and sassy. She was damaged and vulnerable on the inside, but still fighting and not afraid to speak her mind with open honesty. Both Sam and Kia were talkers so it make for some wonderfully awesome dialogue. There were times when I was bookmarking at least 2 quotes per page!
“There are very few, very fuckin’ few people, Kia, who get what’s precious in this world. They work their asses off for pure shit and think they’d fight and die to keep it. You don’t fight and die for shit. You fight and die for things that matter. You are the first woman I’ve met outside a life that leads you to understand that shit who gets that. And straight up, baby, you gotta know, I like that a fuckuva lot.”
Sam helps Kia learn to live and feel safe in the moment. First he tells her, then he shows her. He helps her pull all her inner strength to the surface and work though and dispel the fear and vulnerability left in her from her abusive ex.
“I am not him, Kia. Your dead husband… was an asshole. And now he’s gone. You’re in bed with me… I’m here because I wanna be here… and when we’re done talkin’ about that asshole and he’s gone again, I’m gonna get you wet and hot for me and I’m gonna be in you because I wanna be in you…There are not many men who would not kill [to be here] and that man is now me and and he’s gonna be me for a good long time.”
We meet a lot of side characters in this book that are almost as much of an integral part of the story as the main couple. Their stories moved me to tears more than once and added beautifully to the heart of the story.
“Anywhere is heaven as long as it’s with you.”
Rating: 5 stars!! Standalone.