Published by Grand central Publishing on May 10th 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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Hadley saved my life . . . and I ruined hers
Hadley's my best friend. We share a house, our friends, a life. She knows all my secrets . . . except one. My desperate need for her is inked on my body, it's the best I can do. But Hadley needs to hear the words . . .
Growing up as foster kids, Hadley made me feel whole-sane. And what did I do? I destroyed our chance to be together. I ran out on Hadley when I should have stayed, and something broke between us. Now I'll do anything to fix it.
I'll never leave her again. I won't ever let her feel afraid again. But the more I try to protect her from my pain, the more I just make things worse. I'm terrified that if I tell her everything, she'll never forgive me. I'm even more terrified that it may be too late to make her mine. I have to try to give her what she needs . . . it's a debt I'm determined to repay.
Let’s be clear about 1 thing. My review will have spoilers. Do not read further if this bothers you. I give this book, at best, 2.5 stars.
This book would have been more successful if the writer had stuck to 1 particular problem or let the main characters each have an emotional problem and have a dual pov? I’m trying to find how I could have connected more to the characters because I flat out didn’t care about them.
When we meet the characters, Josh is a slutting it up but has major anxiety attacks. However, he lives with Hadley, who hates him, and she has moderate OCD. This OCD exhibits in needing to check the locks before she goes to bed or leave. Josh cannot orgasm after sex. At all. He has major anxiety attacks stemming from being molested in foster care as a child. Both of them were in foster care as children together. None is this is a spoiler. All of this is pretty up front. You know that Josh is in therapy from the first page for breaking a mans jaw, but you don’t know when that is. You find out later in the story.
We find out that Hadley and Josh used to be best friends and that Hadley saved him from the foster home where he was being molested. For that, he is forever in her debt. He did someone that he cannot take back. We learn early that he caused her OCD by freaking out after having sex…having a major anxiety attack and leaving her. Remember, all of this story is told from his point of view.
Hadley begins to date a guy named Andre and this kind of sets off Josh. She begins to set out of Josh’s social circle and makes Josh’s a little uncomfortable. Thus, that sets off the cycle of communication. That sexual encounter wasn’t just sex for him, it was his first consensual encounter ever. And he just refused to speak to her, even after she was found in the attic freaked out. Later that same week, his mother died.
I find this hard to believe.
Through this whole story, I don’t think the writer’s writing is bad. I think if she would have stuck with the 1 issue of OCD and molestation and had seen that through, it might have been successful. However, I felt like I never connected to the characters, at all. I felt like we kept moving through the story way too quickly. Not only this, but we had these issues, then a car crash, then brain cancer? And the brain cancer was only dealt with for about 10% of the book. Can you really deal with such a dense subject for so little of a book? I felt like that was thrown in just to manipulate feelings.
And Hadley never truly deals with her OCD. Ever. She never gets professional help at all. She thinks she can deal with it on her own even after urging Josh to seek professional help. I find this hard to believe. And I find Josh’s lack of urging hard to believe.
I really felt a lack of depth to the characters that I would need in a drama. If this were a romantic comedy (which, trust me, it isn’t), you can deal with a lack of depth. However, this is a drama. I need to care what happens to the characters. I simply didn’t. When Josh started having seizures, I wasn’t invested in his character.
Sylvia Day wrote a 5 book series when both characters dealt with just 1 of these issues. However, we have 2 + a ton more in just 1 350 page book. It was too much in too short of a book, in my opinion.
Hours later, just after 8:00 a.m., I was still awake when the woman next to me
stretched and reached for her phone on my nightstand. Propped up against my headboard,
I watched the silhouette of a leggy blonde dressing at the foot of my bed. She shoved her
tits into a push-up bra and wiggled her way into a tight black dress.
“It was fun,” she said. “See you around, MacKay.”
She tiptoed away with her shoes in her hand and closed the door behind her. I
knew I shouldn’t have brought Kate home, but at the time I didn’t have the clarity of
mind to do otherwise. Women had always been transient in my life. This one was no
I pried myself from the covers, then crossed the room and stood at the floor-length
mirror beside my dresser to inspect the new ink peeking around the right side of my rib
cage. The skin there was still tender and swollen, a result of six hours under the needles
to continue the design that decorated my back. Bear was an artist with an implement of
My eyes fell to the framed photo lying facedown on my dresser: a younger me in
a tux, standing onstage with my adoptive parents beside a piano before my first sold-out
concert. It was one of the happiest days of my life, and I couldn’t bear to look at it.
I was skinnier then, and lanky. Hadn’t yet grown into my body. Next to my pale,
freckled parents, I stood out like one of those exotic adopted children of yuppie celebrity
parents. Dark skin. Black hair. Green eyes. People told me I was “interesting” to look at,
to gawk at. So little by little I covered all the pretty bare flesh in tattoos.
The first piece I ever had done was of a raven with its wings spread wide across
my chest. The tips of each broken wing nailed down. I was seventeen then. After my first
sitting, I came to understand why people said tattoos were addictive. I suppose I became
a glutton for pain, because when Bear’s wife offered to put a hole in my lip, I let her stick
a needle through my face. For shits and giggles. At twenty-one, I had two full sleeves.
My dad only asked that I keep the modifications within reason. I was a bit fuzzy on that
From the top dresser drawer, I grabbed a tube of antibacterial ointment and
applied two fingers’ worth to the new tattoo. My stomach growled. It was empty and
angry from last night. So I sifted through the field of laundry-pile bunkers scattered
around my bedroom until I found a black shirt and dark jeans on the passable side of
When I hit the landing at the bottom of the stairs, I felt a pair of knowing brown
eyes watching me from the living room. Nothing good ever came from the morning-after
ritual. Even so, I couldn’t help but glance at my roommate curled up on the leather couch
with her laptop open and earbuds hidden under her long dark hair. She held seven fingers
over her head. Hadley averted her gaze back to the computer screen rather than look for
my reaction. Like she didn’t give a fuck.
“Don’t you have anything better to do than wait for the walk of shame?”
“Don’t you have an appointment to get your dick swabbed for STDs?”
And so everything was par for the course on a Sunday morning. I held out my
middle finger as I turned toward the kitchen. That was fun. Let’s do it again next week,
shall we? I had yet to decipher her scoring system. Asking for clarification would only
validate her participation in my sex life.
Neither of us enjoyed living together. My parents’ house in the middle of nowhere
was too big for two people and not big enough for the both of us. Since my dad left to
take a job in New York during our freshman year of college, every day was a special kind
of torture. But Hadley needed me. And as much as I couldn’t stand being near her, I
wouldn’t abandon her again.