“Do you remember what I told you? That last night…?”
The rain poured down like tears on our faces. He raised a hand to touch my cheek, his eyes full. “I’ll always come back to you.”
“I remember,” I said softly.
WOW!! What a gorgeous book! It had flawless writing, breathtaking intensity, and a captivating love story that made my heart race. I loved every single word. This was pure book heaven!
From the moment I heard about this book, I knew I wanted to read it. The unique sound of the story grabbed my attention and made me desperate to find out more…
Josephine Clark is trapped. A harrowing past haunts her every time she looks in the mirror, and she can’t escape the violence of her everyday life. More and more, her thoughts turn to Evan Salinger, the boy she knew in high school. The boy they called a mental case. A loner. A freak. The boy who seemed to know things no one could know. For a few short weeks, Jo had found perfect solace in Evan’s company, sneaking every night to meet him at the local pool. In the cool of the water and the warmth of Evan’s arms around her, Jo had tasted something close to happiness.
Cruel circumstances tore them apart, and four years later, the sweet memory of their time together is dissolving under the punishing reality of Jo’s life now. Evan seems like a fading dream…until he reappears at the moment she needs him most. Guided by Evan’s strange intuition, they flee her small Louisiana town, on the run from the police, and Jo begins to suspect there is something more to his sudden return than he admits.
Over twelve days across America’s heartland, deep secrets come to light, buried pasts are unearthed, and the line between dreams and reality is blurred as Evan and Jo fight to hold on to their soul-deep love, and discover that there is more than one way to save a life.
It honestly felt like the story came alive in my mind as I read. All the emotions were portrayed so vividly. That intense *pull* between the hero and heroine… the spark… the pain… the longing… the secrets… it was all there in the perfect balance. And the more I read, the more invested I became in the story.
Jo was such a compelling heroine. Emotionally scarred in the worst way and betrayed by an uncle she should have been able to trust, her life fell apart after she gathered the courage to speak out. Left without her parents, a scarred face, and no where to belong, she still wouldn’t allow herself to become the victim. Regaining control of her life in any way she could, she survived and she stayed strong.
But everything changed when she met Evan. The loner, the freak, the pariah of the school… but also a heart-stoppingly gorgeous guy who she felt drawn to and couldn’t stop thinking about. And the more she learned about this mysterious, misunderstood boy, the more she fell in love with him.
No black clothes or emo make up or stringy hair. Not this guy. Evan Salinger was, to put it mildly, fucking gorgeous.
I kept staring. For all his hard angles and masculine ruggedness, there was some intangible softness about him too. I don’t know how or why I could possibly know this at first glance, but to me Evan looked like he’d spill the deepest secrets of his heart to the first person to show him any kindness.
Evan is one of those guys who will straight up steal your heart forever. He was such an incredibly selfless, protective, kind-hearted person that it made my heart ache to see the kind of life he’d been forced to live. Given the pain in his life, seeing him fall in love with Jo was beautiful. It was just so right.
We exchanged looks, a commiseration; the girl with a scar and the boy with the freaky rep, and something shifted between us. An unspoken understanding that drew me closer to him without having moved an inch.
They were downright adorable together! Every scene pulled my heart strings…
“Wait here.” I ran back up to my room to grab his blue-and-black plaid flannel shirt, still in my possession. Back on the porch, I handed it over.
“My shirt. I forgot you had it.”
“It’s ‘my’ shirt. You need to go home tonight and sleep in it. I made the mistake of washing it and now it doesn’t smell like you anymore.”
He turned the shirt over and over in his hand, laughing and shaking his head.
“And I want it back first thing in the morning. You read me?”
I especially appreciated just how functional they were as a couple. There was really no stupidity in this book and I respect the author so much for not using misunderstandings as a way to drive the story forward. Instead, the drama came from sources external to their relationship and you very much get the feeling that it’s all about them together against the world without ever questioning their love.
His fingers ran through my hair and caressed my cheek. “Let’s do something really fucking crazy and trust each other.”
As the blurb says though, things don’t all go according to plan and they’re ripped away from each other at the worst possible time. That moment though right before when I could see this perfect future for them as a real possibility and it was like right there — I could almost reach out and touch it — but I knew things were going to get messed up and there was nothing I could do about it….. ahhhhhhhh THE ANGST!!!
Evan. Where are you? Come back to me. I can’t breathe…
When they were separated, it was heart-crushing. Especially with everything that happened after *sniff*. But the way he saved her brought ALL THE FEELS!!!!! I don’t want to say anything more but literally the way they find their way back to each other and the whole rest of the story kept me flipping those pages as fast as I could. I didn’t stop until the very end and let me tell you — the very last words of this book are absolutely perfect. My eyes filled with happy tears and I just sat there for a few minutes hugging my book and allowing all the amazing feels to just sink in. I didn’t want to let go. And I still don’t.
There is a tiny hint of paranormal in this book too. I wanted to quickly address it because I want you to know that this is not a paranormal romance per se, it just requires a tiny bit of suspension of belief. There’s no magic, no ghosts, no vampires, no tangible supernatural thing you have to accept. Rather, Evan just knows some seemingly inexplainable things that are essentially real. But that’s it. I honestly think even the most devout contemporary reader would have no problems accepting this story.
This is a standalone romance told primarily from her POV, although there are also several chapters from his POV as well. And, I’d consider it somewhere between New Adult and Adult in terms of steam levels. The love scenes are hot and yet beautifully passionate — focusing just as much on the emotional connection as the physical one.
“Do you ever…” I heard her swallow hard. “Do you think about us? What we had?”
My chest ached at the longing in her voice. The fearful tentative reaching across the space between us.
“Every minute,” I said. “I think about us every minute of my life. All I do is think about us.”
Gah. I FELT THIS BOOK. The writing was so strong that it kept me totally in the story at all times. Real true confession here: I cancelled dinner out with my husband (at a really tasty restaurant too!) just so that I could finish reading this book. It was that good. I quite literally couldn’t put it down.
This book has it all. It’s passionate and intense, it’s heart-breaking and hopeful, it’s captivating and addictive, it’s beautifully written, and it leaves you with the powerful and uplifting message to never ever give up on true love. I highly recommend it for everyone!!!
“I’ll always come back to you.”
Rating: 5 stars! Standalone romance.