Kane and Helene were the best of friends until a nightmare devastated them… Hopes were destroyed, dreams shattered, a budding teenage love torn to pieces. Eleven years later their lives are nothing like they once were. Time has changed them … and not for the better.Helene is smart, driven, and accomplished—her education and achievements a smoke screen hiding the frigid and fragile child wounded long ago.Kane is equally obsessed with his coping mechanisms—fighting … drinking … screwing … compulsively destroying himself one vice at a time.When their paths collide again, their past becomes an obstacle no coping mechanism in the world can protect them from. But confronting the past so they can heal in the present is no easy task. Can Kane reach Helene and recapture what used to burn so warmly between them, or will his own self destructive demons pull her into his hell?
A woman determined to look forward. A man always looking back. A love desperate to be restored.
“You’re the brightest, warmest star in my universe. You’ll never be less than everything to me.”
WARNING: This book contains darker subject matter and violent content that may be difficult for some readers.
I need to be near you, and I DON’T know what that looks like. But I DO know I need it. Please give me another chance.
Fans of second chance romance prepare to get your hearts ripped out. I’m talking ‘reach through your throat, make you ugly cry in a corner and fuck you up’ kind of ripped out. It’s no secret that this author writes some ANGST, but nothing prepared me for this book. Let me start off with a disclaimer here; I don’t think this book is for everyone. There’s a particular scene in this book that’s a potential trigger and if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing, well, be advised. Being a huge fan of dark romance I’m fairly desensitized to most things, but this scene even made me cringe. It was very difficult to read even if it wasn’t overly descriptive. It broke my cold and black little heart dammit. I actually had to pause the book right after it just to get my shit together. Yeah. It was that effective.
Kane and Helene were best friends in high school and had a budding romance going which Kane was always hesitant to act on. But then one night and one event changed the course of their lives irrevocably. Prepare yourselves for one gut-wrenching read because this event? It was BAD. You don’t know what it is and it will be retold through present to past flashbacks in the first third of the story.
I needed you, and you left me. You left me in this place to deal with…everything on my own.
What happened made Helene a shell of the woman that she once was. It took her years to wade her way out of the pain and nightmares especially since Kane left right after it, but she did it through her focus on school. Now eleven years later, she’s teaching and working on her dissertation, using her education and her career to push back the devastating memories. The last person she expects to walk into her classroom is the only person that knows what happened those years ago and shared the nightmare with her.
Can’t we just forget about the monsters,” he whispered….
“All I want is to remember us.”
The last place Kane wants to be in is the one that reminds him of everything that he lost and the nightmares he barely keeps at bay. Where Helene uses her education and career to mask her pain, he uses self punishment in the form of fights, alcohol and sex. He craves the pain to punish himself. Back to care for his ailing father, he’s determined to finally get the only girl that’s ever had his heart.
I’m not good at much in this world. But I’m good at loving you.”
If you’ve come to love Elizabeth’s dirty talkers, Kane definitely delivers on that end. He also has that dash of asshole that you’ve come to expect from this author, though not overly so.
The story is told in 3 parts; the first third is told in alternating flashbacks of present to past, slowly retelling the nightmare that Hell and Kane shared together 11 years ago. The reader is given one small piece of the puzzle in each flashback until all the pieces begin to fit together into one devastating picture. The 2nd and 3rd part doesn’t have the flashbacks and is told all in the present and focuses on Hell and Kane attempting to put their broken pieces together again.
Everything about us is fragile- our relationship, the way we communicate, the way we fuck. I always feel like I’m two seconds away from letting you slip through my fingers. It’s all so very fucking fragile.
I did find the story dragging a little somewhere after the 40% mark and I found myself skimming through quite a few sex scenes. I can’t say that it read like a filler, not at all. But it was slower paced after the jaw dropping events of the first third.
I love you, Helene. I want you to know that. You’re the only person I have ever and will ever love in this lifetime. I’m so good at loving you. It’s the one thing I can safely say I will never falter at.
This was NOT a dark romance, but it certainly had much darker undertones than anything I had previously read by this author before. It had plenty of her trademark angst, dirty talk and hot as hell sex scenes. But beyond that it also had a beautifully painful second chance romance about two very broken people that slowly learn how to heal themselves and put back together their shattered pieces.
You are EVERYTHING to me,” I said emphatically.
“Sometimes nothing is enough- not even everything.”
It’s not an easy read for sure, but it’s certainly worth the pain for the beauty of their HEA at the end.