“We both came from broken homes, but the moment I met you, my world seemed a little less broken. I always felt like my job was to… protect you.”
WOW!! What an addictive, unputdownable book!! It was a mix of crazy intense angst and the most heart-warming love story you can imagine — a total emotional roller-coaster with twist after twist that kept me glued to the page. I absolutely LOVED it!!
Sharing a summer house with a hot-as-hell roommate should be a dream come true, right? Not when it’s Justin…the only person I’d ever loved… who now hates me.
When my grandmother died and left me half of the house on Aquidneck Island, there was a catch: the other half would go to the boy she helped raise. The same boy who turned into the teenager whose heart I broke years ago. The same teenager who’s now a man with a hard body and a hardass personality to match.
I hadn’t seen him in years, and now we’re living together because neither one of us is willing to give up the house. The worst part? He didn’t come alone.
I’d soon realize there’s a thin line between love and hate. I could see through that smug smile. Beneath it all…the boy is still there. So is our connection. The problem is…now that I can’t have Justin, I’ve never wanted him more.
This book grabbed my attention from the very first page. By that, I quite literally mean that I even have the opening lines highlighted and then, by the end of the first chapter, I was fully hooked on the story! Penelope Ward has effortlessly smooth writing that draws you into the story and makes it hard to look away.
Even from that first moment that they saw each other again after so many years apart with no explanation, the scene was charged with feels. Despite the animosity and resentment between them, the minute they were in each other’s space… BOOM… My heart raced.
I loved Justin — even when he was being as ass. Even though it might not have been overly mature, he had every right to be pissed. I would have been too in his situation. He was sexy and brooding, even while he was flinging insults and taunting her any way he could. But then the more the story developed and the more he opened up to her, my gosh — this guy was pure swoon material. Oh, and… he’s a rock star!
But I’m getting ahead of myself. That first summer when they got the house, Justin brought two things with him: a bucket load of angry resentment… and yep, a girlfriend. To make matters worse, she was actually really nice! Like an actual decent, sane, cool girl. Which sucked because I naturally wanted to hate her (don’t judge). This whole situation made me wary because I hate love triangles and cheating is a hard limit for me. So I want to say first that there is NO CHEATING in this book. However, the girlfriend was there. Honestly though I was totally fine with the triangle aspect within this story. I think that Justin handled it very well, and also you should know that the triangle isn’t the whole focus of the story. It does get resolved and there is a LOT more to this book than that part so just… honestly, don’t worry about it.
Despite his girlfriend and wayyyy before there was any hint of actual romance between Justin and Amelia, there was this SPARK to their connection. Even just when they were talking together platonically. You know how you can sometimes just feel it when two people belong together? With them it was always a question of when not if they should be together. They just had to catch up with the program.
When his girlfriend got called out of town for work, it gave him and Amelia the time to reconnect again — and I don’t mean romantically (I really did mean the no cheating thing). Prior to this point, most of their interactions were quite angry, but this just gave them the room to get to know each other again and actually get back to some real communication about what had torn them apart so many years ago. It was an emotionally complicated situation but hopefully what Justin says will reassure you: “The way I see it, if you want to cheat on someone, you should just break up with them. Cheating is for cowards.”
And then, juuuuuuuust when things between them got almost too intense to handle, an unprecedented twist completely changed her life. I mean my gosh, I thought it was angsty before but aaaahh!! I knew nothing!!! And then not long after, what he did next had me swooning in a heart-melting puddle of goo. It was still angsty, but also sweet, and just GAH my poor feels were tugged in all sorts of directions at once.
Sorry, I’m trying really hard to be vague here and not tell you exactly what happens… but I’ll just say that the twist has something to do with kids/babies. I’m mentioning this specifically because I know for many of you (like me) storylines with kids are a huge draw towards books. But just so you know, it’s probably not exactly the ‘kids’ situation you’re thinking… hehe it took me a little by surprise but I loved it!
I will say that my only complaint in the entire book was that things did get to a point where I seriously just wanted to lock the two of them in a broom closet and not let them out until they’d sworn their undying love for each other. It’s definitely intense and extreme, but hey, it’s an angst-fest so I just embraced it!
“I am so sorry if my leaving like that hurt you in any way.”
“Hurt me?” He let out a slightly angry laugh then shocked me with what he said next. “It changed me. I loved you, Amelia. I was in love with you.” Justin ran his fingers through his hair in frustration. “How the fuck did you not know that?”
And THEN!!!! I totally thought that we’d reached the angsty peak but no!! A secondary twist to their story came about that seriously put my heart through the wringer!! Oh my gosh, this was like next level angst because at this point in the book, their emotional connection to each other had deepened considerably and there was so much more at stake and now with ****all that*** happening it was just aaaaaaaaaaaahhh!!
THE FEELS kept coming. I teared up when he saidthatthingicanttellyou aboutbecauseitsaspoiler and then I turned the page and teared up more… and then that song!! Omg, totally cried. SO BEAUTIFUL!
*deep breath* I’m trying really hard to review this without actually saying anything revealing about it so, sorry for the vagueness. I just don’t want to take away from the awesome experience of reading it yourself.
“Why are you involving yourself in this?”
“I don’t care how you feel about me, alright? I care about you. I always have, and I always will, and I don’t want anything to happen to you.”
There’s loads of steam in this book — it’s definitely an Adult romance with some serious hotness. But the scenes were very well spread out in the book such that the focus was the character development, and the heat complimented it. I was really happy with the balance.
I feel like this whole book was ‘angst done right‘. It pushes you to the very limits but doesn’t actually break rules. I’m usually a bit nervous with this kind of book because it’s pretty easy to take these situations too far in the wrong direction but I really think that the author handled this story so well. She made me care, she made me nervous, scared, angry, and frustrated, but she also made me laugh, swoon, fall in love, and genuinely like these characters. She made me want to root for them to find their happy ending.
“I never stopped loving you. There may have been times I tried to hate you, but even then, I never stopped loving you.”
Seriously, I COULD NOT STOP READING! I laughed, I cried, I swooned, I swore in angsty frustration, and my heart melted over and over again over the gorgeous epilogue. Everyone just… READ THIS BOOK!!
Rating: 4.5 stars. Standalone Contemporary Adult Romance.