“Every time I think I couldn’t love you a bit more, you stretch my heart again.”
The first half of this book was wonderful- it made me want to give the book 5 stars. The story hooked me from the beginning, I loved the characters, and the writing style was beautiful. But I felt the second half of the story was brought down by all the drama. There was too much it – it needed more editing! I felt that the story kind of exploded, it became a little less focused on the characters and I felt myself lose a bit of my connection to the story.
Blake Hartt (God, don’t you just love that name??) sees Livia McHugh every day at the train station. Every day she smiles at him, and he counts each of her smiles as though they were a precious gift. But Blake is homeless, no one sees him except Livia.
“No one has really seen me in years… But when you saw me for the first time, you actually saw me. You saw me, and then you smiled like I was just the same as everyone else on that platform.”
When some bullies try to pick on Blake one day, Livia steps in to defend him leading to their first official meeting. Each day they spend a little time together in the mornings and in the evenings, inexplicable drawn to each other until finally they can’t deny that what they have is more than just friendship.
Blake was a beautiful character. He was a refreshing change from so many typical male leads. He wasn’t dripping in money, he was vulnerable and deeply tormented by his past but oh-so-sweet, charming, thoughtful, and chivalrous beyond all means. He was both gentle in so many ways but growing in up in the foster system and being on the streets hardened him making him far from defenseless. I loved how he worship Livia – how grateful he was for every moment with her and treasured every aspect of her being.
“Blake…has a tremendous sense of pride, which he will not see compromised. He finds no glory in accepting help. If he hasn’t earned it, he wants no part of it.”
Livia was a strong female lead. She was kind, and caring, but very tough and not one to hide from a dangerous or difficult situation. I loved the way she saw Blake – she saw him for who he was as a man, not for for who his situation made him. She fell in love with him and didn’t care that they weren’t in the same tax bracket. She liked him, then she loved him, and that was all that mattered to her. Blake also had some issues left over from his horrible childhood and I loved that she dealt with them in such a non-judgmental, completely understanding way.
“Do you love him?”…
“I feel like I’ve always loved him, and now I just got lucky enough to find him.”
This book is almost equally about the side characters as it is about Blake and Livia. Blake’s two (foster) brothers, Beckett and Cole, play a huge and wonderful in the story. Bound together by the horrors of their foster home, they forged a deep bond of family, love, loyalty and dedication to each other that you couldn’t help but feel your heart.
I loved Cole – he had a horrific past and got a delightful HEA in this book. But Beckett was the one who really stole my heart!!! He’s the big brother of the three and feels responsible for Blake and Cole. I LOVED him and I am ridiculously excited that he is getting his own book. He is like Kellan and Travis‘ long lost brother. He’s the one who gets his hands dirty to protect his brothers (who are, by the way, a seriously awesome kick-ass trio). He is, not out of choice but out of necessity, a pimp, a drug dealer, a murderer, but with a heart of absolute gold and there is nothing that he wouldn’t do or give up for his brothers and his family- he made me totally swoon-y! Did I mention I love him??
“I hit the streets first. So I knew what we were in for…To live in this world without a dime or a pot to piss in, you have to sell your soul or your body…I sold my soul, Livia, and I sold other people’s bodies. But when my brothers stepped out of our foster home…I had respect. Respect enough to keep their souls clean. I’m going to hell…for all three of us.”
The writing style really gives a beauty to the story – especially in regards to Blake and Livia’s scenes. They almost feel magical.
“He moved to her earlobe and breathed, “First, I will blow, then I will lick, last I will bite.” Blake took his time blowing an elaborate pattern on her stomach, and Livia was pretty sure he’d spelled the word torture.”
“You make the rest of the beautiful things in the world cry for even trying at all. You make it hard for me to breathe.”
And its a great contrast to the gritty feel of Beckett and Cole’s scenes. The author does a very good job of inserting humor to help lighten up the darker undertones of the story.
There really is a little bit of everything in this book: a beautiful love story (or two!), drugs, parties, a helluva lot of murders, kidnapping and hostages, creative swearing, steamy moments, gunfights, a jealous/scheming ex-boyfriend, quiet times in the meadow, midnight masses at church, vengeance sprees…
The book is really about finding ways to be together and not allowing the future to be ruled by the hurts of the past.
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