If You Leave (Beautifully Broken #2) by Courtney Cole

If You Leave (Beautifully Broken, #2)If You Leave by Courtney Cole
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

5 (I wish I could give it more) Beautifully Broken Stars

I knew going in that I can’t ever be with anyone. That I’m not whole. That I’m not normal. That I’m a monster. That I’m the bad thing.

She wants me. And I want her. Fucking her would be like harnessing a raging summer storm.

This book book gutted me, it broke my heart into a million different pieces, and then it put it back together piece by shattered piece.

The book starts off with a bang, as I’ve come to associate to books written by Courtney Cole. It grabs you with the first few lines, and doesn’t let you up until the very last page.

Gabriel is an Army Ranger, who is still dealing with the demons that haunt his nightmares since his last tour in Afganistan. Try as he does, as hard as he runs, he knows that he can’t outrun them. The bad thing has finally caught him, and he know’s there’s no escape.

Madison is dealing with demons of her own, though hers come from a different type of memory.

An accidental meeting behind a club in Chicago brings these two damaged souls together. What was supposed to be a few moments spent naked and sweaty between the sheets, get interrupted by a freak accident that bring Gabriel’s secret demons, that he’s been struggling to keep hidden, roaring to the surface.

Madison knows a fucked up person when she sees one. So as gorgeous as the dark haired stranger was, she leaves him with no expectations for their paths to ever cross again. Of course nothing is quite so simple, and she finds herself coming face to face with the beautiful and broken soldier once again.

Fighting issues of her own, the last thing that Maddy needs is to take on the issues of Gabe. But she has a hard time fighting the immediate and overwhelming attraction that burns between them.

I couldn’t get enough of both of these characters. Maddy is broken in her own way. And she hides her damaged heart behind a veil of a cold bitch. But Gabe is determined to win the game of cat and mouse between them, and to chip away at the cold exterior to the woman that she hides underneath.

Let me tell you, when these two finally get together…


Madison begins to see beyond the shadows of pain, to the true damaged warrior underneath. But while Gabe helps her heal the wounds of her past, he maintains a strong hold on his own hidden demons. But little by little, Maddy begins to get bits and pieces of what broke such a strong man.

While she knows that she can’t force him to deal with his past, she knows that she wants to be by his side when he finally does.

Gabe, oh my poor damaged, completely fucked up Gabe. My heart absolutely broke for him. When each new detail of that dark came to light, I found myself crying like a baby. I just wanted to hug him. I wanted to fix him.

Courtney Cole did not shy away from any gritty, dark, and utterly devastating detail. It was gutting to read it, yet I couldn’t put the book down.

She took an incredibly dark and painful subject matter, and she painted an incredibly beautiful story. I loved that she spared no detail, and gave focus to Gabe actually DEALING with his PTSD. It was not glossed over, it didn’t fade to black. She took the reader on that journey along with Gabe, and Kudos to you Miss Cole for doing that.

While characters from the first book make an appearance in this book, (Maddy is Mila’s sister from If You Stay) it could easily be read as a standalone. The details from the past book are explained away, so you wouldn’t miss much. Though it IS a series, so I’d recommend starting from book one.

This book was utterly captivating, dark, gritty, devastating, heart breaking, and I LOVED EVERY SINGLE PAGE OF IT!

There is a sneak peak into book three, and the hero sounds like the ULTIMATELY broken and damaged asshole

Though I don’t know how I feel about Jacey being the heroine. I couldn’t stand her in this book. She was immature and just drove me nuts. Unless she overgoes a complete personality change, I can’t see myself changing my opinion of her. But I guess I’ll just have to wait and find out.

If you read and loved the first book, you will love this one even more.
If you were like me and the first book didn’t quite work for you, this one will completely blow the first one out of the water. I can’t recommend it enough. I still can’t stop thinking about it.

Seriously, Courtney Cole, bravo!

View all my reviews

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