The moment I opened this book and read the first few pages, I felt that tingling sensation in the back of my neck that usually alerts me of something great about to happen, and I knew, just knew that I had come across something truly rare. And the more of it I read, the more I knew I was right—this was the most perfect piece of writing I had read this year, and quite possibly ever. Every part of this unique story is sheer genius, ever facet of it truly unexpected and utterly mind-blowing. By the end of it, I felt like my mind had been stretched so far, I needed a map to navigate back to the mundanities of regular life. Without giving anything away, I will tell you that this book is not to be taken at face value. This story is so brilliantly woven together, so meticulously assembled that nothing is accidental, everything is intentional, and your preconceptions and assumptions as a reader need to be left at the door because apart from being a phenomenal storyteller, when Alessandra Torre decides to write an epic love story, she ‘recalibrates’ the entire genre. Remember that.
“When you really love someone, you cannot walk away. No matter what they do. No matter the lies from their mouth, or the actions from their bodies, you tie yourself tightly to their sail and vow to be there through thick and thin. Let the wind blow you where it may. Even if that place is a crash. Even if that place tears you apart and kills anything good.”
We meet Layana Fairmont on her twenty-fifth birthday as she comes into possession of a large trust fund designed to provide her with the same affluent lifestyle she grew up accustomed to, while she follows in her mother’s footsteps and seeks a wealthy husband whose name she would carry and whose arm she would adorn. But Layana is nothing like her own mother. Passionate, opinionated, generous with her heart—she hopes of finding an equal in the man she marries one day, someone who would share the same goals in life, someone to forge a future with, free from secrets and deceptions, someone to love her completely and unconditionally. Someone to ignite her body and stimulate her soul.
“I wanted the happily-ever-after of movies. Where my family would share their day while eating at a round table. Wanted to visit life in a world where mothers hugged daughters with bruises and consoled them after their first dates went awry.”
When Layana meets Brant Sharp, one of the country’s most eligible bachelors, a self-made billionaire, philanthropist and computer genius extraordinaire, she falls for his quiet charms and unassuming good looks, but what draws her to him the most is his intense interest in her, his focus on her pleasure and her happiness, something no man has ever given her before. However, she soon discovers that as perfect as their connection has been from the moment they laid eyes on each other, being the girlfriend of an inherently reclusive man presents its challenges, especially when those closest to him are willing to offer obscene amounts of money just to keep her away from him. But the more people try to discourage her from dating him, the more Layana sticks around, her feelings for him only growing stronger each day.
“It didn’t make sense. He was too perfect. How was I the first woman to tie him down?”
Layana’s fairy tale romance becomes her own personal nightmare when she discovers that the love of her life is not as perfect as she always believed him to be, his one hidden flaw having the power of tearing them apart, and yet she stays, her heart quietly hurting, but her determination to love him forever never wavering, not even for one single flicker in time. And that is the moment Layana meets Lee.
“We did not feel like strangers; our mouths instinctively knew each other.”
Lee is everything Brant is not—cocky, arrogant, sexually dominant and emotionally vulnerable all at the same time, a man who acts on instinct in all aspects of his life, showing no care for the consequences of his actions. And one look at him is all it takes to make Layana want him body and soul, her relentless pursuit of him knowing no limits. His passionate touches, his unapologetic use of her body for his own pleasure, his desire to claim her as his but thinking himself unworthy of a woman like her, make Layana’s addiction to him as true as her love for the man whose heart she risks breaking with her deceit. But her own heart won’t let her stop.
“Why does she cheat on me? What do I not provide for her? What part of me is not good enough?”
And this is where I must stop and let you unveil the rest of this story at your own pace, navigate through your own conclusions and ‘ah’ moments, to discover one of the most heart-stopping and heart-breaking love stories I have ever read. Never have I been so tempted to cheat and fast-forward to the end of a book like I have while reading this story. I was desperate to see the finishing line, to assure myself that my heart would remain in one piece because it did not stop racing beginning to end. But I didn’t—I inhaled every word, absorbed every scene, and let this story slowly reveal itself to me as intended.
“I couldn’t even tell you where I’ve been. Everything… everything fades unless I’m with you.”
Brace yourselves for one of the most astonishing tales you will ever read, and then want to re-read immediately after to make sure you did not miss a single thing. Faultlessly written, impeccably mapped out, this story shows us how far a person is prepared to go for true love, how many sacrifices they are willing to make, and how far they would derail from their own moral compass just to make sure they never lose that love. This story had everything I always hope of finding in a book, and I still cannot stop thinking about it. I was enthralled, I was stunned, and I was left speechless by the end of it. And then I went back and re-read it.
“I will fight for this love. Lie for it. Steal for it. It is worthy of that… I love her completely. She returns the love wildly. This love is worth the unsaid truths. The hidden lies.”