Riley thought she was in love. She thought she found the perfect guy until his aggressive behavior became too much to handle and she ran.
Becoming withdrew from the world and hiding from the chance of loving again. Having four older brothers and a determined best friend she had no choice but to stand strong.
Over time Riley was able to open up once again. She had no idea that the one person she needed was right under her nose.
She was guarded and hesitant when it came to bad boys…after all it was a bad boy that shattered her once before.
Zander wanted the girl from the party. He wanted to be near her even though she continued to push him away. He couldn’t let go of the gorgeous girl with those stormy eyes.
They both had secrets they kept hidden from one another. They found it easier to talk to others than to confide in each other. Riley begins to realize Zander isn’t who she thought he was and falling for the sexy voiced Lead Singer/Guitar player may be just what she needs.
They struggle through hard times and learn to trust again. But will the love that grows be enough to hold them together or will the heartache they suffer drive a wedge between them forever.
They could be toxic to one another or they could heal the wounds that run deep within their souls.
THIS BOOK CONTAINS ADULT CONTENT AND IS MEANT FOR MATURE AUDIENCES
Let me start by saying that I enjoyed this book, it was a quick and easy read. I liked the characters and their interactions, of course none of them were without flaw but they were a fun group when they were together. The romance in this book was fabulous, but I did feel like overall there were things missing from this book. But it was a great read, I don’t want to take away from that.
Riley is in an abusive relationship. When she has finally taken the last blow, she finds the courage to walk away. She knows she cannot go back to that situation. She ends up taking some time off of school before going back.
Her first big venture back to school was a party with her brother and best friend. That’s where she meets Zander. He can’t take his eyes off of her and he knows that she is the perfect girl for him. But no matter what he says to her, she thinks his lines are ridiculous and cheesey, but he means every word of them. Just when Riley thinks giving Zander a chance is what she wants, she finds another girl in his arms.
Riley moves on and dates someone else but knows that he and her can never be anything more than friends and ultimately finds her way back to Xander. But will those initial sparks between Riley and Xander be enough to pull them through a relationship? Can she move beyond her past to have a full relationship with Xander? Can they get beyond the people around them to make it work?
As I said at the beginning, I enjoyed this book but there were some things that I was missing. Riley was in an abusive relationship then she left it. This book started out very dramatically when the world around Riley collapsed. I was ready for one of those angsty books that just kept me on the edge of my seat through the entire thing. But, suddenly it’s six months later and Riley seems healed. She goes back to school, goes out with friends… I kind of felt like her brothers were more parinoid with her surroundings than she was. She said time and time again, that she could handle herself.
I know every victim has their own timeline in the healing process and I am not one to judge it. I have never been in that situation so I would never judge the time frame of the process. But what lost me on this traumatic experience was the emotion when she started dating again. I really didn’t see a girl with any pain or fear. I saw someone who fell down and got back up and moved on. I am not sure what the true connection there was. With such a dramatic beginning, I felt like this book was going to take me on this crazy ride through emotional hell. But it didn’t.
Any fear she had of what happened to her, she kept well hidden, so that I couldn’t see it. What I did see was a girl who was falling for a guy and full of incredible insecurity. She hated seeing Xander around his best friend, Beth. That was really the only drama that I saw between them. Fear fuled from insecurity. Maybe I missed it but Riley was a lot braver than I was expecting her to be, which is not a bad thing, just unexpected.
I really did enjoy the characters. Riley had been through hell, but her brothers and her dad just had her best interest in mind and were so protective of her. And Xander was just so adorable and knew how to treat her. He wanted more from their relationship and he was willing to do what it took to make it work. I really liked his charcter. I felt like he was a breath of fresh air. He was not overly alpha (Riley’s brothers on the other hand were 100% Alpha). He was kind and caring and he knew and understood that above all, he was going to love and protect Riley. That was his goal.
I really don’t want to give the impression that I didn’t like this book. I did like it. I love the characters and I love the friendships, I just wasn’t quite sold on the depth of Riley’s trauma. I think I just kept expecting it to resurface and would be the big what-if factor in her new relationship with Xander. But the big road block for them seemed to hinge of jealousy. I thought this author gave so much to make this book so much more, but just didn’t use it all to it’s potential. But again, I enjoyed the book, I was just ready for a lot more. This is a great read and pretty light heared, despite it’s dramatic beginning.
The sun was starting to set and I couldn’t stop yawning. I honestly felt like I could have slept for days.
“Do you wanna come over for a little while?”
When I faced him he looked so hopeful. I laughed at his pouting lip and pushed against his chest.
“Okay, just for a little while.”
I secretly prayed that tonight would be a Beth free night. When we pulled into the driveway and I saw her playing basketball with Mark and Cody, I sighed. Over the roar of the bike I figured Zander couldn’t hear my disappointment.
I know they’re friends but I felt like she was always there. We never got time alone because she seemed to always show up. I don’t know how many times she walked in on us making out on the couch or against the counter.
She looked up when I removed the helmet and handed it to Zander.
“Hey Ry…it’s good to see you. Our boy here has been a fuckin buzz kill the last few days. I think he was suffering from ‘Riley’s Hot Ass’ withdrawal.” I smiled at Cody. Leave it to him to break the silence.
Zander grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the stairs.
“Dude where are you going? You gonna join the game?”
Zander laced his fingers with mine, “Nah Mark, tonight I’m all Riley’s. Catch you guys tomorrow.”
I felt a flutter in my stomach and smiled up at him. When he winked back at me I swooned. God damn, he had me right there in that moment; I was giddy. All it took was for him to make me feel important to him.
An hour later we were snuggled on his couch with a movie in the DVD player. He threw a blanket over us and I was wrapped up in his arms.
“Are we gonna be okay baby? Can we move forward from this together?” I nodded my head and he kissed my neck just behind my ear. “I love you, Ry. I felt my heart race as I turned in his arms. I looked up into his beautiful face and he smiled down at me. I traced his jaw with my fingertip and ran it across his lower lip.
Swallowing past the thickness within my throat, I took his face into my hands. “I love you too Zander.” I brought his lips to mine and we began to kiss each other with such passion. I could have kissed him for hours because the gentleness he expressed melted me from the inside out. I felt desired and treasured as he made love to my mouth with his.
“Say it again Riley, please.” He watched me intensely.
“I love you.”
He smiled and closed his eyes, “Damn, if that isn’t the greatest thing I’ve heard in a long time.”
I lightly laughed, “You’re so easy, you know that?”
He shifted me underneath him, “If you remember right I was the one that made you wait.” I raised my eyebrows waiting for him to continue. “And it was pure hell to restrain myself.”
Our lips met once more and we were once again lost in each other. “Stay with me tonight…I want you in my arms.”
“You just wanna get laid.”
He chuckled, “No, I wanna make love to you though.” He pushed forward against me and I could feel his arousal. “Will you spend the night with me Riley?”
I nodded my head and pulled his mouth back to mine. There was no going back and I wanted it…I wanted him. I wanted all of him, his heartache and smiles, his laughter and tears. I was going to hold on tightly because Zander made my heart flutter and my knees wobble and damn it if that didn’t feel amazing.
He picked me up and carried me to his bed with my legs wrapped tightly around his waist. There was little talking and it was perfect. We scrambled to remove each other’s clothes and to feel each other without restrictions. He left me to reach for a condom and I instantly missed his warmth. I shuddered instantly when I felt him return and his body pressed against me.
CLICK HERE to enter an amazing giveaway!
ABOUT C.A. HARMS
C.A. Harms is like any other addicted reader. She enjoys happy endings and HEA love stories. She hasn’t always been a lover of Romance and had once been addicted to a good Mystery. Just recently she has taken on a new liking and now is a full blown Romance novel addict.
She lives in Illinois and enjoys spending time with her husband and two children. You will always find her with her kindle or paperback in hand as it is her favorite pass time.