Published by Self-Published on October 10, 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Growing up on the outskirts of Las Vegas as the daughter of notorious strip club owner, Stephen Knox, and a mother who abandoned her at birth, life was less than kind to a young Antoinette.
After a failed teenage suicide attempt, Toni hit the road in search of a life free of undeserved cruelty and any resemblance to her past.
Years later, Toni is lost in a dead end marriage and makes a painful confession that sends her back to the one place she always wanted to escape. But can she really right the wrongs that haunt her? Toni soon finds that the only place where things stay the same is in your mind.
When her path crosses with David Stark, childhood playmate turned one night stand, she cannot deny the spike in temperature she feels every time he's near or the scorching dreams that flood her at night.
Digging through the years of heartache, Toni soon finds herself torn between the man she is committed to and the one who has always held her heart. As each layer unfolds before her, she discovers the root cause of her pain. Always believing the source was external, nothing could prepare her for the truth.
I enjoyed this book for many reasons. First there was the outstanding characters. Antoinette Knox had so many sides to her you would think that she had split personalities. In Indiana she was this successful, 100% professional, religious and oh-so-serious unsatisfied married woman. It all felt like it was a facade, as if she was playing a role in a play. She was just existing, not really living the life that she really wanted. You could tell she was unhappy with her choices but everything seemed to change…
As soon as she was back home she transformed into a whole different person. She threw her professionalism out the window and finally just let loose. Despite the sadness that enveloped her because of her fathers situation she took everything in stride and dealt with the issues at hand. She was finally home and where she needed to be and it was then that she found her happiness. I loved her for her strength and her sass. Her confidence was non-existent when she was younger but she sure did make up for it when she got older.
David Stark. What is there not to like about this guy? I loved him for his loyalty. He was not related to Stephen Knox but he always treated him like own father. From the very beginning he knew that Toni held a special part in his heart. Growing up he always showed apathy towards Toni but it was just his way to protect her from even more cruelty of bullying. I loved him too for his selflessness and his humility.
“…without love and care, we wither away, breaking down until these bodies become inhabitable. Yet with love, companionship and diligence, we thrive…”
Then there’s Stephen Knox. He ran a very successful money-making strip club which sounds pretty sleazy but he wasn’t that man you expect him to be. From birth he raised his loving daughter alone . That enough showed me how much character this guy had. Not only that…because of his business acumen he was practically a gazillionaire. What did he do with all those riches when he was living in a house falling apart at the seams? Read this one to find out. This man was a saint!
I would have to say that there was a lot of religious references which I personally tend to shy from in fiction stories. Tales that are heavy on the church, faith and/or religion just make me oddly uncomfortable. However, the way the author used these references did compliment this story appropriately and it was delivered in such a respectful and reverent manner that I couldn’t help be more impressed with her inventiveness.
After reading a second 5/5 story written by J.L. Brooks, I think it is safe to say that she is a friggin’ master of standalone romance. Just like Distractions, I loved the writing style in this book. I thought it was very detailed and descriptive. I thought the way the author paid attention to the tiniest details was remarkable.
For me this book was un-put-down-able. The writing and flow was smooth, the story had so much insight and depth and the character building was impeccable. I loved everything about it.
“You are trashed right now, aren’t you?” David couldn’t hold back the laughter as I swayed side to side slowly.
I shook my head back and forth, then up and down. “Yesshhhh…
Erin leaned in and told David, “You better watch out, she’s talking about strippers and salvation. Next thing you know, she’s going to get a Bible out and start baptizing people at the bar.”
“Fuck you, Erin, you’re just mad because you want David to christen your head with his baby batter.”
They both looked at me in absolute shock, so I stole the opportunity to slug another shot.
“Yeah, I said it. Let me up – there’s an empty pole and a morning full of regret with my name on it.”