Let me start off by saying that I have wrongly judged this book by its racy cover. I’m sorry but I’m not really a fan of intensely provocative covers such as this one. I’d rather have an abstract and/or artsy cover that would somewhat keep me in the dark with what’s in store in the book. But going back to my pre-judgment, I’m happy to admit that this story proved me wrong with my shallow assumptions of what the story’s going to be because this one just took my heart right off the bat. (And with that said, I do hope that the author would consider having an alternative and more appropriate cover).
Evie and Leo met in foster care as children and formed a bond of friendship. As they grew, their bond turned to love and they vowed to make a life together when they turned 18 and were no longer a part of the system.
When Leo unexpectedly gets adopted as a teen and he moves to another city, he promises Evie that he will contact her as soon as he gets there and come back for her in a few short years. She never hears from him again.
Now eight years later, in spite of the odds, Evie has made a life for herself. She has a job, she has friends, she’s content. Then a man shows up out of the blue, claiming that her long lost love, Leo, sent him to check up on her. The attraction between them is undeniable. But, should she trust this sexy stranger? Or is he keeping a secret about what his connection to Leo is really all about and why Leo disappeared all those years ago?
Overall Rating: 5/5 — Definite must-read!
Tears, tears, and more tears thanks to this precious hidden gem of a novel!!! I can’t remember the last time I was this emotionally invested in a story. I seriously thought that this would be just another angsty and sexy read, but no. There was so much more to this story even though I have to admit that I got thrown off a bit because of the daring and provocative cover o.O
First things first, my addiction to characters with a history (more specifically, those who were childhood friends) was deeply satisfied with this story right off the bat. I instantly felt the connection of Leo and Evie at that first flashback-slash-prologue. It was almost impossible to put down this book after finishing the first chapter. All those flashbacks were perfectly in tune with what’s happening to the present time as well. In addition, Evie’s make-believe fantasy stories were also beautiful and captivating.
“…And this beautiful boy would have the gifts of both his parents, the beauty of his mother and the heart of his father, the heart of a lion.”
I don’t think I have to explain exactly how swoon-worthy both Jake and Leo were and how the chemistry between the characters were just so intense—in a very good way. But aside from that, I liked that there were some underlying meaning and depth to their experiences that makes you draw some light and clarity into your own life experiences as well.
So normally, I would’ve predicted the twist about halfway in the story but this one kept me guessing and it wasn’t until around 70% that I finally had an idea as to what really happened to Leo. And I swear, the whole scene with Jake exposing his back tattoo to Evie triggered an onslaught of tears that I just wasn’t able to control.
“Why are you looking at me?”
His eyes search mine for several long seconds before he holds contact and whispers, “Because I like your face.”
If that wasn’t enough, after recovering from the shock and pain, I teared up again during Jake’s explanation as well as Leo’s letters to Evie.
“All those months, staring at the ceiling and staring into my own soul, you, Evie, you were the miracle that I kept coming back to again and again — that all those years ago, you chose me.
Please, please, choose me again.”
And that sweet Epilogue!!! It was the perfect story of survival, redemption, and of course, unwavering true love.
“Everyone tells a story about themselves in their own head. That story makes you what you are, dictating all your actions and all your mistakes. If your own story is filled with guilt and fear and self-hatred, life can look pretty miserable.
But, if you’re very lucky, you might have a person who tells you a better story, one that takes up residence in your soul, speaking louder than the woeful tale you’ve convinced yourself of. If you let it speak loudly within your heart, it becomes your passion and your purpose. And this is a good thing, the best of things. Because it is the very definition of love, nothing less.”