I’m standing here in this room, alive and breathing and fighting because of YOU! Because in between the torture and the beatings and the fucking hell, year after year, I couldn’t get you out of my head. I didn’t WANT to get you out of my head. Your smell, your smile, your laugh, your taste, your touch… it’s the only fucking thing that made me want to wake up every damn day and to go through that shit again and again. Thinking about you and fighting to get back to you is the only I could fucking survive.
AHHH!! I loved this book!!
The Story of Us was a beautiful, heart-wrenching, and healing second chance romance about a Marine who made it back home to save the woman whose memory had kept him alive through hell. I’ve loved Tara Sivec’s writing for years and I was so excited when I heard about this book. I read it in one sitting and it’s definitely a new favorite!
How much can a man take before he breaks?
1,843 days. That’s how long I survived in that hellhole. They tried to break me, but I resisted. And I owe it all to the memory of warm summer nights, the scent of peaches, and the one woman who loved me more than I ever deserved to be loved. Now, I’ll do anything to get back to her.
Only Shelby Eubanks isn’t the girl I left behind all those years ago. She’s someone else, a stranger. My Shelby would never give up her dreams, would never disappear into her mother’s ambitions. But I won’t give up on her. On us. I may be broken, and scarred, and not the man I used to be, but I will do whatever it takes to remind her of the story of us.
Five years ago, Elijah James was on a military mission overseas when he was taken prisoner. Each day, he was tortured at the hands of people desperate to break him, and each day he didn’t break because the one thing he held onto was the memory of the woman he left behind — who he still loved with all his heart, and who never knew the true story behind why he’d vanished from her life so suddenly.
How many people lose someone they love, knowing they’ll never see them again, never touch them again, never hear their voice again, only to find out it was all a mistake? How many people wish they could turn back the clock in time os they could look into their loved one’s eyes, run their hands down the side of their loved one’s face, and hear them speak? It’s a dream that everyone who’s lost someone has. A dream that slowly turns into a nightmare you feel like you’ll never wake up from. Something you know is impossible, but you can’t stop obsessing about. I’ve prayed and I’ve screamed and I’ve cried, wanting the impossible, and now I have it.
When he was finally rescued and returned back to his hometown, the only thing that mattered to him was finding her and telling her the truth about how much he loved her. However, the woman he’d left behind was not the same woman he came back to. The spark of life and light was gone from her and he was determined to do everything he could to bring her back… To save her as she’d saved him.
I’ve become this numb shell of a woman I don’t even recognize anymore for a man who probably only used me, but I don’t know how to stop. He left this town without saying good-bye and then he left this earth without giving me closure. He left me to pick up the pieces and protect his family and his name and I hate him for that. I’ve allowed someone else to make all my decisions, rule my life and crush my dreams because I don’t know how to stop loving him more than I hate him.
You guys — there were FEEELS!!! This man had sacrificed everything — his happiness, health, safety, freedom, and almost his life — for a girl he loved more than anything. And yet she’d never known why the only boy who’d ever made her heart race and made her dream of a future together had left her. And yet she sacrificed everything to keep his reputation untarnished. And when he came back into her life, everything came flooding back — the intense longing, the magnetic pull she felt towards him, the relief, the heart-break, the love, and so many questions. Why did he leave her? Why did he betray her trust? Had he ever truly loved her? And now it was up to him to tell her the true story and prove to her that no matter what, everything he’d done had been for her and that she was the only thing that had ever mattered to him.
As they found their way back together, he made it his mission to bring happiness back into her life. And as they reconnected through lost letters and stolen nights, all the secrets of their past were brought into the light…
And OMG!!! There is a gut-wrenching little twist towards the end (not romance related, don’t worry) that seriously made my heart break for Eli. This book really highlights how real and painful the effects of PTSD are in a way that managed to bring both sad and happy tears to my eyes at the same time. It was equally heartbreaking and healing and I thought this aspect of the book was incredibly well done. I love it when books can take my by surprise and I absolutely didn’t see this coming and this whole element really brought so much strength to the story.
This is a story of an undying, unending love that was strong enough to heal even the deepest of scars. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for beautifully written, heart-wrenching and healing romance to fall in love with.
“I meant everything I said in my first few letters. I love you. Only you. Always you…”
Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone contemporary romance.