25yo fighter Hero does his yearly ritual of drowning out his memories on Valentine’s Day with alcohol.
When 21yo nursing student sees him at the bar she works at, she’s attracted to him despite he’s binge-drinking and distant attitude. Her continued attraction towards him makes even less sense after she finds him in the bathroom that night, having just attempted to commit suicide.
She already has a lot on her plate supporting her 6yo autistic son and an ailing mother plus going to nursing school. When they meet again 3 months later, she falls more deeply for him as they get to know each other and he spends time with her and her family. They soon become intimate.
But his inner demons surge back to the surface like clockwork. Hero tries his best to deal with it by himself. But when it interferes more & more with their relationship, it drives a wedge in their romance. What will it take for Hero to trust heroine with this dark secrets? And can their relationship handle it?
I’m not a fan of main characters with kids from another lover but this book was written so captivatingly that it became a non-issue. The writing drew my interest in the characters & their romance, especially at the big secret Hero had. The hint after hint of it was told in the midst of their developing romance & their dancing around the issue. Heroine wanted Hero to trust her with it but wanted to respect his clear limits about it. Hero wanted to give his all to her & have it be reciprocated but didn’t want to divulge the dark part of him. His suicide attempt & its repercussions to her life & her family were matters she had to deal with. I could feel her struggle & attempt to balance it all. Heroine was a strong young woman who was used to shouldering huge responsibilities without being a false martyr or victim about it. She had a positive outlook on life & dealt with problems head-on. So her strength of character was definitely needed to deal with the tortured darkness of Hero. What’s great about him was that he realized how much he needed her in his life early on. It may have taken him a while to be completely open to her but he did finally get there, thanks to her & his cousin’s reminders of unconditional love & support.
There’s depth to the romance & the psychological issues this book tackles. It made for a real-life feel to the characters & the way the book read. The emotions were there. I could feel it & that’s what makes a book a quality read for me. I wished that the sex scenes were more detailed though. The author did well in drawing us into Hero & heroine’s sexual chemistry. But the sex scenes were barely mentioned & made me feel cut-off from fully experiencing the emotional intimacy between them. It still doesn’t stop me from wanting to read the next book in the series.
I recommend this book.
*ARC courtesy of the author in exchange for an honest review.