“I love you, Caro. I want to make love to you. I want to make love to you forever.”
This book made my heart RACE. It was a captivating story of forbidden love. I’m still recovering from the huge cliffhanger ending and most definitely planning to go straight on to book #2.
I gotta say I was a little hesitant going into this one because of the huge age gap between the hero and heroine. For the record, Sebastian is 17 (4 months shy of 18), and Caroline is 30 and (unhappily) married. I kind of wavered back and forth a fair bit on it before deciding I should really just give it a shot and I pretty much just jumped in with both feet knowing nothing other than the fact that this one ends on a cliffhanger, but the sequel has a happy ending.
I want to say that the age difference was totally ‘fine’ but in truth it was almost fine. There were definitely moments where you really felt Seb’s age shine through but then definitely moments where you felt his maturity. There was no doubt though that they were definitely soul-mates, or “right” for each other. It was just their situation that was unfortunate.
I knew from very early on that Seb and Caro would be one of *those* couples I would just want to pluck out of their setting and put them on some desert island somewhere to live out their happy, peaceful, non-judged lives together. But.. *sigh* … that wasn’t going to happen.
There are a few things that made me more okay with the scenario. First, it is NOT a love triangle book. There is no actual wavering back and forth between two guys ever. Caroline is stuck in a loveless marriage to a military man 11 years her senior who she rashly married when she was 19 years old to escape being under her mother’s stifling thumb at home. There is no doubt from the start to the end of the book – she is NOT in love with both men. She is more just ‘stuck’ with her husband. He wasn’t a cruel man, but he was intolerable and insufferable and while he wasn’t directly abusive, the way he treated her was appalling to me and as such, I didn’t lose a moment’s worry over his feelings in the whole matter.
“He hated the way I dressed, the way I spoke, what I spoke about and the things that interested me to speak about… He wasn’t always an unkind man… we were just fundamentally unsuited to each other.”
The story follows Caroline – married to her husband who’s job as a medical officer in the military moved him around a lot. In the prologue, we see them move to a new base where she is introduced to the horrid wife of his new CO and their adorable eight-year-old son Sebastian. She feels badly for him growing up with such wretched parents and the become friends. Its beautiful and totally not creepy guys!! But when her husband is relocated yet again, she is suddenly forced to move again, leaving behind a distraught Sebastian.
Fast forward 9 years to the present day, Caroline is now 30 and they are moved back to that old base which is where she meets Sebastian Hunter – gorgeous, grown up, and carrying a serious torch for her. He’s truly loved her from since he was a kid and although she resists his advances at first, there is something between them… a spark. A spark she tries to ignore, but ultimately can’t.
“Sebastian, don’t let me keep you from your friends; I’m quite happy to sit here and watch.”
He shook his head and looked at me intently.
“I can surf anytime; I’d rather be here with you.”
I stared down at my notepad, unsure what to say, but absolutely certain that if I looked up I’d be caught in the net of his blue-green gaze. But I also needed to be clear.
“I wish you wouldn’t say things like that, Sebastian. I’m a married woman. It makes me… uncomfortable.”
I still hadn’t been able to look up….
“I really like you, Caroline,” he said softly.
I felt his hand touch my arm; he was trembling.
I had to look up. His face held such an expression of longing, mixed with anxiety…
Doing the math, she calculates that he must be 18 years old and they begin a relationship in secret at first. But only later does she find out that he is almost 18. Almost. Ohhh what a difference that one tiny word can make. Its terrifying and neither of them went into it knowingly but they are already too deep to pull back and so, despite trying to resist, they can’t help but continue to develop their relationship.
“I knew it was wrong: I knew it was right.”
“I had chosen – willingly, knowingly, deliberately. I chose love over law. And I didn’t care.”
Its a situation where Caro genuinely did NOT consider him a love interest at first. But he was into her. Like, seriously! And although she struggled at first with her feelings, the heart wants what the heart wants….
“Please don’t,” I whispered. Bu there was no force behind my words.
He stood, still holding my hand.
“I love you, Caroline.”
He spoke softly, but the words were clear, spoken without expectation and with a little hope.
“I’m married, Sebastian.” …
“You don’t love him, Caro.”
My eyes darted to his. How did he know?
“I love you. I’ll… I’ll do anything, go anywhere … We’ll be happy.”
So, so tempting.
“We can be together,” he whispered. “Forever.”
But every single thing between them is forbidden. Its dangerous and there is this HUGE, intense, never-ending undercurrent of pure angst that over-shadows every single one of their interactions.
“Everything had a price: every glance, every kiss, every stolen touch. It seemed desperately unfair…”
I have to say, I pretty much fell in love with Sebastian from the first time he said hi to her on the beach. He was just SUCH a sweet, kind hearted guy. Just one of those guys that you couldn’t help but crush over – a totally gorgeous character, inside and out. My heart broke for his home life and he did seem a lot more mature than his years at times.
The writing style is captivating and had a beautiful feeling that just wrapped you into the story.
This book definitely had that 5-star spark. You know the one I’m talking about, right? The one that makes your heart flutter and have you completely involved in the story.
The author really made you FEEL all the things they went through – the jealousy and possessiveness, the worries and uncertainty, and their undeniable and passionate feelings for each other.
But there were also a few things that kept me from being able to give it a full 5 star rating. I didn’t like how much Caro let herself be under her husband’s thumb. I mean, it made sense for the story because if her marriage was solid, it would have thrown the story into a whole different ballpark but I just didn’t like how much of a doormat she was with him. Literally, he said jump, she asked how high. Although, in her defense, she did have a moment toward the end when she finally stood up to him that made me happy.
And I’m trying how to decide about the age gap. I have mixed feeling about it. First and most importantly, I acknowledge that they were right for each other. Okay, I said it. It was clear they were in love – you felt it, you knew it, it was undeniable. But…. I will say that there were times, as a reader, where it felt a little awkward – I don’t know, moments where his teenager-ness really came through that made me just squint my eyes a little and feel a little uncomfortable. It wasn’t the fact that he was young I had issue with but something about certain scenes made their age gap feel a lot more pronounced. And, I mean, I guess its an honest reaction because the fact of the matter is that it projects their feelings onto you – I mean, Caro had those feelings and went through a lot of anxiety over whether or not they should be together given their age gap so I guess it was really just drawing you into that feeling.
But yeah, there were definitely moments of “awkward” although kudos to the author for really making you ‘feel’ his age accurately. She didn’t try and dress him up as a man in a kids body. He simple was. a. teenager. A mature one. One who knew, without a doubt what he wanted, who he loved and where he wanted his life to go. This wasn’t one of those “perfect” situations where he’s young but its okay cuz he’s really a man. No. He’s really 17. He had a heart of gold. Was in love for absolute real. But, he was a teen. And she was 30. No sugarcoating it.
A few of you were asking me about this, so this book is definitely ‘adult‘ in terms of steam. There is a lot of sex and its fairly detailed so definitely not ‘glossed’ over.
I have to say though that I READ IN FEAR!!!! Seriously, I was freaked WAY the hell out at EVERY moment that they were going to get caught!! I mean, yes, they were careful (to a certain extent) but at the same time they were also just freaking LUCKY they weren’t caught earlier because they did a LOT of things that could have EASILY drawn attention had the wrong person been there at the right time. They really weren’t careful enough for my liking about hiding it so, as cute as they were, I spent half my time freaking out and it did detract a little from my connection because I was SO worried all the time.
“I want to walk on the beach with you and hold your hand and to not be afraid that someone will see us.”
Seriously, the hiding it, having to pretends in public that they weren’t ‘together’, all the stolen glances and fleeting touches, the HUGE looming threat of what would happen if they got caught – EVERYTHING just seriously had my heart in my throat and kept me on pins and needles for a good part of the book. I even had to put the book down a few times and go begging to people for reassurance, lol (yes, I’m a chicken, don’t judge me!!).
Especially as I got closer to the end and I KNEW there was this giant brutal cliffhanger, I. Couldn’t. Take. It. As it got closer to the end I was freaking out more and more. It was helpless feeling where I knew it was going to end badly and there was absolutely NOTHING I COULD FREAKING DO ABOUT IT!!!!!!!!! I just had to keep reading. And dreading what was to come. And just seriously… F U C K !!!!
I didn’t cry at the end but my heart was in knots!!!
I feel utterly wrapped up in Seb and Caro’s story and good or bad, there is no WAY I’m stopping now! So I am absolutely going straight on to book #2 which I have been assured has a HEA!! Thank GOD!! cuz…
“You are my world, Caro,” he said.
“And you’re mine.”
Rating: 4 – 4.5 stars. Book 1 in complete book duet.