An unforgettable second chance romance that tells a beautiful story of love and pain, fate and circumstances, forgiveness and hope.
One of my absolute favorites this year.
- Related Posts: 6-Star Reads | 2014 Favorites | 2014 Favorite Singles | Epic Love | Bad Boys | Mega Alphas | Kristen Ashley Reading Orders
Way too young, eleven year old Tucker Creed and his six year old neighbor, Sylvie Bissenette, find they have something awful in common. Creed then decides he’s going to do everything in his limited power to shield his Sylvie from her ordeal. So he does and Creed and Sylvie form a bond that grows and blossoms with their ages.
They plot to leave their lives behind, the town they live in that will hold them down and the histories they share that, unless they break free, will bury them. Sylvie goes to their special place, Creed never shows and she doesn’t see him again until it’s too late.
With Creed gone, Sylvie is forced to endure a nightmare and do the unspeakable to end it. To deal, she develops a hard shell with sharp edges that very few can break through. So when Creed again finds his Sylvie, he discovers the girl he loved is locked away and he has to find his way back into her heart without getting shredded in the process.
“Born to love you, baby… Die lovin’ you, my Sylvie.”
There are books you fall in love with and there are books that own you. Creed and Sylvie’s story owned me. Loved every fated moment. Every emotionally charged word spoken. Every gaze rife with years of love so deep, so destined that it filled my heart to bursting. It’s a story that’s equal parts beauty and pain, but one you sensed was meant to be. In addition, these 382 pages encapsulated everything I love about Kristen Ashley. The rhythmic, honest-to-the-soul language, the kickass alpha male with a heart of gold, the fierce loyalties that withstand any and all tribulations, the once-in-a-lifetime kind of love with the power to right all wrongs… and this time, one kickass alpha girl, fearless and kind and incredibly strong where, and when, it counts. Creed and Sylvie’s tortured tale is gut-wrenching and beautiful, and one that unravels in a way that wasn’t easy, but in a way that was meant to happen exactly as it befell.
“Tucker Creed. My first love, my protector, my savior. My betrayer.”
Sylvie Bissenette is one tough chick. She’s had to endure physical pain, loss, betrayal and the scarring heartbreak of abandonment. Nonetheless, she lives her life head held high, with grit and courage, verve and determination. With a job she believes in, a group of loyal guys that have her back and a couple of friends who know her and love her unconditionally, she’s got everything she needs. She’s fiercely independent, intelligent and able to kick some serious ass. Yet even unaware, and beyond a deceptive shield of impenetrability, she carries the broken memory of her first love… the only man she’s ever loved, who loved her in a way that ruined her for all else and broke her in a way she hasn’t been able to recover. Tucker Creed. So when fate intercedes and Creed is suddenly back in her life and ready to partner with her on a job, she is all kinds of angry and unsettled.
“Learn this about me, partner, and I suggest you do it now… I do not go back. Eyes ahead. Feet moving forward. I don’t ever fucking go back. I don’t talk about it. I don’t think about it… You were my life a long time ago. I’ve lived two full lifetimes since then, each entirely different. I like the one I’m in now. I’m not going back to the ones before.”
Immediately, I felt the air thicken and my heart stop as these two people who loved each other deeply came face-to-face for the first time in sixteen years. Creed, in all his 6 ft+ muscled frame, shaggy hair and piercing blue eyes laser focused on Sylvie, is at minimum thoroughly disconcerting and entirely breathtaking. He makes it clear in the way badass alphas do, that he’s there to stay. There to tackle the past. And there to do it with Sylvie at his side. A story hides behind the scar on his face, beyond the shards of Sylvie’s broken heart, before the sixteen years they lost. There’s so much unsaid, so many memories, so many feelings, even now. And it’s the volatility of all those hidden emotions that sends them tumbling into the past and straight into each other’s arms.
“You need me. You won’t stay away and you won’t let me go because, baby, you can’t breathe without me.”
The answers to why he abandoned her unfurl gradually, through chapters that alternate between past and present. It’s a mystery that baffled me as it quickly became clear that it certainly wasn’t because Creed didn’t love her. The glimpses into their past were so beautiful, so poignant, so raw and real, that it made their moments in the present so much more emotionally laden. Every interaction was charged and meaningful and I desperately wanted them together. Once the truth of his abandonment (and her ordeal) was revealed, I was utterly gutted. The facts were intensely painful and difficult to get past. My own heart ached with pain for these two people who had truly never stopped loving each other. What to Sylvie is at first a fun rekindling she thinks she can walk away from, quickly turns into their special kind of something that will last forever. Creed isn’t taking no for an answer. He’s willing to work with Sylvie as she battles her demons and the truth of what happened to him so long ago.
“It’s always you and me.” I nodded again and felt my lips quivering. He kept whispering, “Always me and my Sylvie, yeah?”
“Yeah,” I whispered.”
I think one of the big reasons I loved this story so much is because there was this profound sense of connection and intimacy. It was deep love and pain twined together so closely that the emotions bled off the page. I loved Sylvie for so many reasons, her strength and fierceness in the forefront. But Creed, for me, was the true hero. He sacrificed his own life and happiness for Sylvie, and once he had her back, he was all in, heart and soul, willing to do anything to make things right for Sylvie and for them both. Even after so much time apart, he knew what Sylvie needed. Knew when to push hard and when to embrace fully. He just knew his Sylvie.
“Some people get to live life. Some people survive it. We’re survivors. We can carve out our piece of happy, and, I swear to God, baby, right now, you got my vow, for you and for me, the rest of our lives, I’ll bust my ass to carve our piece of happy.”
And of course, their connection is palpably evident in the scorching chemistry between them. They couldn’t get enough of each other and the pages burned, burned, burned with the passion they set aflame.
“I loved the man under me in a way that wasn’t just mean to be. It wasn’t a way we were born to be. It was in a way that needed to be.”
Many times I have finished a book and said THIS… this is my favorite Kristen Ashley book. I’ll refrain from saying it yet again, but certainly this story touched me in a way that I won’t forget. I love second-chance romances with stories that come full circle and this one has probably been the best second-chance romance I’ve read. Even now as I type my review, I feel my throat constrict with the sheer beauty of it. Add in the amazing bond between Knight and Sylvie that seriously made me want to cry at times, and it’s simply perfect. I’ve enjoyed reading about people like Knight, Creed and even Sylvie, the unfinished heroes who haven’t walked the straight and narrow path their entire lives. They straddle the lines between right and wrong and live in worlds shadowed with shades of grey. But they’re real, flawed, atypical and intensely human with the capacity to love hard and defend fiercely. I simply can’t get enough of what Kristen Ashley has to offer, and I know that as I continue to make my way through her long list of books, I will undoubtedly fall in love again and carry with me stories I know I’ll re-read and will never forget.
“For over twenty-seven years, every day, every minute, every second, I’ve loved you, Tucker Creed.”
Reading Order and Purchase Links
Click on the below images to purchase the book from Amazon U.S.
Connect with Kristen
★ Don’t miss a post, review or giveaway! Subscribe to Vilma’s Book Blog by email! ★