The heart isn’t like the liver; it doesn’t regenerate, no matter how much time passes. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good. I’d left mine with Sebastian when I walked away that day, and I hadn’t seen it in the seven years since.
I loved this book!!! It captured the intensity of a once-in-a-lifetime, heart pounding romance that was given a second chance and mixed it in with suspenseful drama and lighthearted fun. From the moment I started reading, I could not put it down!! This is definitely one of my favorites of the year!!
I knew I was off to a good start as soon as I read the dedication. Then the prologue gave me tingles and I was already hooked and desperate for more before I’d even started the first chapter.
But before anything else, I’ll tell you a bit about the story…
Lux and Sebastian (Bash) fell in love in high school. They were young, but it was forever love. The kind of love you don’t move on from. Even though they were in the same class, they were from such different worlds — he was the son of a US Senetor and she was dirt poor “white trash” (her words) but neither of them cared about that. The only thing that mattered was how strongly they felt for each other.
“For a brief span of time, I’d been complete. I’d been his, and he’d been mine, and nothing and everything made sense all at the same time.”
Then, right before college, Lux was forced to make the hardest decision of her life. She shattered the heart of the boy she loved and broke her own in the process when she unexpectedly left town.
“I’d known then, at eighteen, that my case of heartbreak was terminal, incurable. It wasn’t “puppy love” or “first love” or any of the loves that supposedly fade with time and large quantities of ice cream. Because when you walk away from your soul mate – when you take real, true love and throw it in the fire and watch as it burns down to ashes – you know you’ll never be the same.”
Seven years later, she’s working as a writer for a prestigious magazine when a twist of fate has her suddenly face to face with Sebastian, the guy she never once stopped loving but hasn’t seen since the day she left him. Naturally he’s hurt and angry and she’s holding on to secrets too but their intense connection is still there, strong as ever, and Sebastian will stop at nothing to find out what made her leave.
Woven in with this already-intense romance was a suspenseful side-plot centering around a case of missing girls Lux was investigating that was linked to deep political corruption. And the deeper she dug, the bigger the case got. I’m not going to lie, this section of the book gave me chills!!
I’ve also left out a certain part of the story in my description on purpose because it’s not mentioned in the blurb but I think you’ll enjoy the story more overall if you don’t know everything going in.
I swear to you though, at only 3% in, I was already swearing my undying love for the book. This book put me through more emotions in the first two chapters than some whole books combined. I was highlighting quotes left, right, and center. Even just in those first few chapters, I already had butterflies, my heart was racing, I was excited, curious, heartbroken, laughing and just completely invested in the story!
I really loved the layout of the chapters — Then, Now, Then, Now…. — it was brilliantly balanced between the past and the present, giving us just enough to hook us into story then taking us either backwards or forwards in time to find the next piece of the puzzle that was Lux and Bash. It was so cool to see these pieces slowly come together to build this bigger picture and reveal the truth of what happened and uncover the secrets that had influenced their lives.
When I read that first break up scene though, my heart broke right along side theirs. I had so many questions… Why was this happening?? What made her do this?? It was still very early on in the story and I barely knew the characters, I was already feeling for them so strongly and I needed answers!!!!!
Ohhhhh and that moment when they first met again, my. heart. stopped. It was such an emotionally charged moment and so well written!! Their heart break and longing was conveyed so powerfully.
“We stared at one another, two strangers bound eternally by a shared past of lies and broken promises, and I wanted to throw myself back in his arms… I wanted to erase the past seven years and kiss him until he forgot how I’d destroyed us.”
Lux was such an awesome heroine! This girl was strong, sassy, and fun. She’d had to make the most heart breaking decision of her life and lived every day with the guilt and pain that was left behind but she still held her head high and tried to make the most of every situation she was put it. Totally a ‘glass half full’ type of person, even when her whole life was falling apart.
Bash was just pure swoon-material. I loved him SO much!!!! This guy was the kindest, most understanding, patient, and loving man you can imagine. He had a heart of gold so when I saw it get broken, I just wanted to cry. Check out this quote from him…
“You might think you’re the villain in my story, Lux, but what you don’t seem to realize is that I don’t care. Princess or Evil Queen, I want you standing by my side when this tale comes to an end.”
The writing was absolutely fantastic! I love this author’s style and I loved the way the whole story was built. It started strong and stayed strong throughout. The past and present were woven together seamlessly along with a great balance of romance, heart ache, hilarity, suspense, drama, fun, and hotness. I really loved that even though this was by no means a comedy, there was just enough wittiness mixed in to keep me laughing every few pages.
Towards the end of the story, tears were pouring down my face (the good kind!!! I promise) as the emotions intensified and then my heart started racing as the suspenseful subplot reached it’s peak. I personally loved the way the subplot was woven in — it incorporated a bit of mystery, suspense, and action into an already emotionally charged romance and it began building from quite early on so I felt it was very well balanced. I can see how someone who doesn’t like suspense at all might find it a little distracting from the romance but it totally and completely worked for me. I will say though that I might have wished for things to have been a little bit steamier but, on the flip side, I felt Lux and Bash’s connection so strongly that I really didn’t feel like I was missing anything even though it would have been a welcome addition.
Overall, I absolutely loved this book! It had a little bit of everything — romance, drama, suspense, humor, strong emotions, great writing and a story that kept me glued to the page from beginning to end. Oh, and the ending was totally gorgeous and we were treated to a wonderful epilogue! I highly recommend it!!
“I think that if two people are meant to be together, nothing can ever truly separate them. Time, distance, other people — it doesn’t matter. They’ll circle back around to each other eventually.”
Rating: 4.5+ stars. Standalone romance (w/suspense)