It’s been three days since I finished reading this book and I am still thinking about it, obsessing about it, catching myself re-reading passages, highlighting new ones. I can honestly say that I never expected to be blown away this completely and I most certainly did not expect to find a new favourite. This story will make you feel so many emotions you won’t know which way is up and which way is down. Emotional, poignant, exceptionally written, believable… and it comes with the bonus of having by far the hottest sex scene I have ever had the pleasure of reading. And re-reading. And re-reading. As much as this book made me cry and it crushed my heart on so many occasions, it left me deliriously happy because I knew I had found a rare gem.
We meet Nell as a young woman living a carefree life – she has a loving family, a blessed childhood, a best friend who has been in her life since they were kids. We watch the friendship between them develop into something more, we watch them fall in love, experience all their firsts, we feel their bond in our hearts and we are giddy about every single happy moment they share as their relationship progresses naturally and effortlessly.
“Nothing mattered but the delirious joy of Kyle, of my first kiss, of making out with my best friend, the only guy I’d ever really cared about.”
And then one day Kyle is taken away from her. Suddenly, unexpectedly, cruelly.
At Kyle’s funeral, Nell meets his older brother Colton, the black sheep in the family and their pain makes them connect. In their desperation, they share an illicit kiss but Nell is so overwhelmed by grief, loss, regret, sadness, that she pushes him out of her mind and out of her life.
“… it had felt too right, nestled in his arms. Too comforting. Too natural. Too much like home.”
Two years later, they accidentally meet again, in a new city, as two adults living away from their families and braving through life as well as they can. Colton has never forgotten the broken young woman who captured his heart at his brother’s funeral, whose pain was so palpable that he wanted nothing more than to take it away from her. The memory of their stolen kiss engraved itself in his soul, marking it and making their chance encounter something he has hoped for ever since she walked away from him that agonising day. It does not take very long for Colton to realise that Nell has never grieved her loss properly. She has bottled all her pain and guilt inside her, deep inside her, never allowing herself to confront her emotions, let them flow through her and excise them that way. She is a ticking bomb and Colton might be the only person in her life equipped to help her face those demons.
“There’s darkness in this girl, now. I almost don’t want to get involved. She’ll hurt me. I know this. I can see it, feel it coming. She’s got so much pain, so many cracks and shards in her soul, and I’m going to get cut by her if I’m not careful.”
There is nothing that I could say that would even come close to the intensity of what slowly develops between Nell and Colton. It’s a love story tainted by such unimaginable suffering, by despair from not knowing how to cope with it, by a hopeless tie to a past that should have been cut a long time ago. We feel every one of Nell’s unshed tears, we bleed with them and we desperately wish her to find the happiness she deserves. Colton walks into her life like a knight in shining armour, his own traumatic past being the only weapon that could help Nell.
“I will protect you. From others and from yourself. Always.”
They do not just give in to their mutual attraction, they take their time, thread carefully and sensibly, putting Nell’s emotional healing before anything else. She has had two years to allow her guilt to fester inside her and it has become an ugly monster who has the power to shatter her and make her feel worthless. On the other hand, Colton’s persistence and selfless love have the power to pull her out of her dark hole, and open her heart again. By helping her face her pain, Colton is forced to address his own as well, his past becoming the very tool he uses to help Nell.
“We understand each other, Nelly. We’ve both lost someone we love. We both have scars and regrets and anger. We can do this together.”
But when they finally succumb to the desire that has been building between them from the moment they laid eyes on each other, it is quite a sight! I’m pretty sure Jasinda Wilder might be responsible for some unexplained seismic activity that occurred the moment I read those scenes! She can write good hot lovin’ like nobody’s business!
“There’s no start, no stop, no him or me; there is only us, only perfection, only meshed souls and merged bodies and dizzy pleasure.”
The writing style is as original as it is effective. Events are narrated at a fast pace – bam, bam, bam – like little daggers stabbing our hearts with every fact that is shared. It holds us captive in the scenes, unable to think of anything else. This is a stunning, heartfelt love story, one that will stay with you for a long time after you finish it. I want to scream from the mountain-tops how much everyone should read this book. This is not an ordinary romance, it is an extraordinary tale of love healing all wounds, no matter how deep they are. An absolute must-read.
“I’m not just falling in love with you, Nell. I’m falling into you. You’re an ocean, and I’m falling in, drowning in the depths of who you are.”