Wow. This story was INTENSE in every way. There’s something raw and appealing about reading a book when the author has had personal experience with the subject matter. You know that the story will most likely be done exactly right, and the emotions will be captured and expressed in a way that will draw you in, because they KNOW their subject matter.
We all have secrets.
Secrets well buried.
Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.
Lexington “Lexi” Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve. When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year’s NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track. But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman, a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.
Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?
This story does follow a reasonably ‘typical’ NA plot line. Bad boy from the wrong (very wrong) side of the tracks meets good girl in college. HOWEVER, in this story the ‘good girl’ is not all she’s projecting herself to be. She has many deep, dark demons of her own, which she struggles with daily to overcome.
I really admired how both of these characters fought until the bitter end to try and overcome their problems and better themselves. They both showed great strength of character and it’s easy to see why these two were drawn to each other. They found solace in each other, when they were trapped in their darkness.
“For a time, the sun shone every day. Birds would chirp and time would be spent lounging in the heat, content basking in its glow.
But again, the unrelenting winter returned, bring days of forever night, and with it, all loss of hope.”
From early on I worried that Austin and Lexi had placed too much pressure on each other by being their ‘reason’ to carry on. Even though they were tough and they fought hard to be the people they wanted to be, neither of them seemed to be doing it for themselves. Even after the book has finished I still wonder what would happen if life had not gone according to their plan to live happily ever after. But, I told myself to get a grip and just appreciate the story for what it is – a true love story about hope, bravery and fighting to overcome adversity.
“And that’s how we fell.
Fell into sleep.
Fell into trust…
Fell for each other.”
I have a lot of admiration for Tillie Cole after reading this story. What a strong person she must be to not only overcome her own demons, but to then turn around and face them head on by writing about them for the world to read. Keep doing what you’re doing, Tillie! You’re a star inside and out! I can’t wait to read whatever comes next.