I won’t bore you by telling you again about my obsession with Abbi Glines’ books because I am pretty certain that even the camels in Timbuktu know about it by now and can recite my favourite passages, but I will tell you this – the more of her books I read, the more I am certain that we ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Ms Glines has a signature style, an inimitable voice drawing inspiration from a part of the world she knows best, and she is constantly titillating us with meant-to-be romances that we’re never quite certain whether they are designed to make our skin tingle in all the right places or cause our hearts to skip a few beats. But her voice keeps transforming, morphing, the ‘flavour’ of her stories reflecting an impressively prolific repertoire and her ever-changing taste. A master at creating dominant and possessive heroes who treat their leading ladies like princesses, she has once again given us a male character to lose our minds over and a heroine who will make you so protective of her, you might start growling at some point. The seventh book in the Sea Breeze series, this is a story that is so different from the others that it might as well be called a standalone novel. Superbly paced, heartbreakingly emotional, with just the right amount of sizzle and spice, I have loved this book on every single re-read and each time the same scenes managed to move me to tears.
“In my stories I could be beautiful. The prince would love me, and I would know how it felt to belong.”
Blythe is an orphan, raised by a pastor and his wife, in a house where she was never gifted with a kind word, a sign of affection or any positive affirmations. Treated as an unwelcome presence in the disapproving household she lived in, Blythe has grown into a woman who enjoys her own company, the stories she reads and writes, a woman who craves the freedom to be herself and asks for very little of others. She blossoms when even the smaller compliment is aimed her way, but two decades of being told she is an ugly, evil nuisance have conditioned her to believe she has very little to offer to others. Alone in a new city, finding love is the last thing Blythe hopes to find. And yet, her heart desperately aches to be claimed.
“Someone was bound to see the bad in me. They always had before.”
Krit is the lead singer of a local band, a man with a womanising reputation firmly based on facts, and he has no intention of changing his ways. Krit never connects with the women he sleeps with, he never makes false promises, never pretends that pleasure is not the only things he seeks from them. Raised to believe he is unworthy of love, he hides his heart behind a façade of carefree abandon, allowing very few people in his life to see the real him. Until a beautiful girl’s childlike joy catches his attention and then consumes his every thought from that moment on.
“How the f*ck was this girl alone? Where was the man hovering over her and protecting her from every bad thing that came near her?”
A beautiful friendship is born, one without pretences and where they are both unafraid to be themselves around each other, but they both secretly crave for more. Krit sees Blythe’s untouched innocence and kindness of heart and believes himself to be too jaded for a girl like her. As they spend more and more time together, he grows increasingly protective and possessive of her, but he is reluctant to claim her. Blythe’s isolated upbringing has made her utterly inexperienced in all matters of the heart, Krit’s mixed signals deeply wounding her, feeding her insecurities and warped image of herself. But she soaks up every little bit of attention he gives her, never asking for more, never demanding anything from him, cherishing his friendship and being willing to break her own heart in order to keep him as a friend.
“If you were lucky enough to have Krit Corbin in your life, you didn’t push him away. You soaked up every minute and made as many memories as you could.”
But when two people start living for each and every moment they spend together, it soon becomes impossible to keep denying their hearts. As Krit and Blythe’s relationship slowly changes, it becomes the very thing they have both always needed to feel complete. When life suddenly throws their young love curveballs, their worse fears have the power of either breaking them apart or making them stronger than they’ve ever been.
“Blythe made me feel whole inside. I’d never felt whole. There was always this emptiness. I had tried everything to fill that dark ache inside, but nothing had ever worked. Until Blythe smiled at me.”
Every aspect of this story tugs at our heartstrings, making us addicted to its every word and leaving us in a starry-eyed haze, wishing there were more pages to feed our addiction. Whether you’ve never read another Sea Breeze novel in your life or whether you’re a die-hard fan, you will love this book, there is no doubt about it. A beautiful story of friends turning lovers with two characters that we cannot help but adore, Ms Glines has truly outdone herself this time, making my heart, for one, a little terrified of what she has in store for us next.
“You don’t just fit into my world, Blythe. You are my world.”
I managed to focus on her face again and realized Green was walking her over to me. Brit slipped her arm around my neck, plopped herself back in my lap and began nibbling on my neck.
“Uh, dude, can you break free long enough to come here a sec?” Green asked sounding uncomfortable. Blythe’s eyes grew wide as she watched Brit. F*ck, that innocence was there shinning like a warning sign. As if I needed it. I knew the girl wasn’t my speed. But damn, she was tempting.
I moved Brit off of my lap and stood up. Blythe’s eyes went from Brit to me and then she dropped her gaze to study the floor. I noticed Green’s hand resting on her arm as if he was there to jerk her from harm’s way if needed. I didn’t like that. I wasn’t sure why, but I didn’t. She was letting him keep his hand on her too.
“Did you decide to come join the party, love?” I asked keeping my grin in place so I didn’t scare her with the snarl I was tempted to give Green. He was a horny bastard. Blythe wasn’t available for what he had in mind.
“No, that’s not why she’s here. Can we take this outside where we don’t have to talk so loud?” Green asked me with a pointed stare. What was his deal?
Blythe looked back longingly at the door like getting out of here was all she wanted in the world.
“Sure,” I replied.
Blythe spun around and hurried for the door.
Green shrugged and turned to follow her.
I glanced back at Brit who was watching us closely. I motioned to her that I would be right back then headed toward the door.
Green was standing there asking Blythe her name and Blythe gave him a shy smile which was more than I had ever gotten from her. What the hell? Green wasn’t the charmer. I was.
“What’s the problem?” I asked as I joined them in the hallway. The annoyed tone in my voice didn’t go unnoticed by Blythe. Her eyes widened and she started wringing her hands in front of her nervously.
“Krit, this is our new neighbor, Blythe. She lives directly underneath us,” he said in a tone that was obviously trying to make up for mine.
“We’ve met,” I told him swinging my gaze to hers.
Her cheeks turned a bright pink. Why? I hadn’t said anything to embarrass her.
“Oh, okay. Well, we’re being inconsiderate with our noise level. This is two nights in a row that we’ve partied and Blythe isn’t getting much sleep.”
So she was here to complain. Interesting. No one had ever complained before. This apartment complex was known for the parties. Had she not known that when she moved in here?
I studied her face as she bit down on her bottom lip and looked ready to bolt. She thought she was going to make me mad. I was pretty damn sure that a girl who looked like her was incapable of making me mad. She gave off the “I need protecting” vibe in a big way. Add that to the heart stopping face of hers and she had a winning package deal to get away with all shit, even from me.
I stepped closer to her which forced Green to move back some. Reaching down I pulled one of her hands she was gripping so tightly into mine and ran my finger along the inside of her palm.
“Why don’t you come inside with me just for a few minutes. Meet some of your neighbors and then when you’re ready to go I think I have something that will help with the noise,” I told her as I kept my gaze locked with hers.
“I, uh, I’m not good with crowds,” she said with an apologetic tone.
I tugged on her hand until she was almost pressed against me. “I won’t leave your side and I’m f*cking amazing with crowds,” I replied with a wink.
“Don’t make her,” Green started to argue but I cut him off.
“Not your business. Back off,” I warned him before sliding my hand around Bythe’s waist and walking her to the door.