Heroine: Kami Duvall – Bartender, Broken Soul
Hero: Blaine Jacobs - Bar Owner, Genuine
“Life happens......Unfortunately, many of us found that out earlier than some. We found out just how awful life could really be. We found out that monsters were, indeed, real. They walked among us. They looked just like you and me. They came in the form of people we loved and trusted the most. The people whose only job was to love and protect us.” - Kami
Imagine being physically and sexually abused by the one person in your life that is supposed to give you love, happiness, and protection. It's gut-wrenching to know that any little girl would experience this kind of pain. That was Kami Duvall's reality as a child. She lived in fear of her father, who is a monster, until she was seven years old. He's a drug addict, alcoholic, mentally sick man who beat and tortured his wife and child. They eventually escaped and ran away but Kami never truly ran from the demons in her past. What her father did to her scarred her emotionally and broke her mentally.
Being inside Kami's heads was heart-wrenching and almost maddening. She fears life. She fears love. She fears everything. She doesn't know what to do with the fear that consumes her. She can't let go of the past that has come to define who she is. The only people she trusts are her two best friends, Dominic and Angel, who are just as broken as she is. They're a dysfunctional family together. They're all she has until the day she meets Blaine.
The moment Blaine and Kami meet, something inside her shifts and changes. She feels an electrifying, magnetic pull to Blaine. No man has ever made her feel that much. She fights what she feels towards Blaine but, no matter how hard she fights the attraction, she finds herself spiraling down a path that leads to love and commitment. Is she strong enough to love him? Will she let him love her? Or will she let the fear that consumes her cause her to push him away?
This book is emotionally heavy and exhausting. Phew. It took me a while to come out of my own head when I finished it. I instantly fell in love with Kami and Blaine's story from the moment Kami walked into Blaine's bar, Dive, where she eventually gets a job as a bartender. As they work side by side, the attraction between them grows more intense. It's up to Kami to let herself be free from her pain and worries and give in to Blaine, who wants her. Bad. But even with the 'meant-to-be together' chemistry they have, I knew their story would be a bumpy road. And it sure as hell was.
"Don't worry," he smiled, pulling me into the hard warmth of his chest. "I've got you. I'll always catch you when you fall." -Blaine
I think you will fall in love with Blaine immediately like I did. He is incredibly patient, sweet, charming, and oh, so very sexy with his tattoos and piercing. Yum. The best part about him is that he is genuinely a really good guy. He treated Kami with the utmost respect. He took his time with her and never rushed her into anything. His sensual whispers and touches made my heart flitter. But even with all his sexy flirting, he knew Kami needed to be treated with care. So he took his time and was extremely understanding of Kami and all of her flaws, especially when they started to rear their ugly head with her mental breakdowns. He never freaked out and ran. He stayed. He wanted her. Scars and all. I give the man credit for putting up with Kami the way he did. She is not an easy person to handle. She would push him away and he would keep coming back. I'm not sure many guys would be that resilient to Kami's wishy-washiness and freak out moments. But, like I said, he's patient and kind.
Both Kami and Blaine have broken pasts that cripple them emotionally. Blaine knows all about pain and suffering when he lost his mother at a young age. He knows that in order to gain Kami's trust and to get her to open up to him, he needs to tell her about his past. It's hard for him to open up to her but when she consoles him and listens to him, it's like a salve to his heart. And by him opening up to Kami, she starts to slowly open up to him as well. These two need each other. They need each other to heal. They need each other like they both need air to breathe - which is why I thought this love story was so beautiful.
I really love how the relationship builds slowly. The sexual tension between these two kept ratcheting up more and more as the story progresses. I love how they become friends first. Blaine wanted Kami to trust him and he makes sure she does before they take that inevitable step into the bedroom. And when it was time for them to give into that kind of intimacy, it was definitely hot. So worth the wait.
This is a heartbreaking doozy of a story about a young woman who has been psychologically damaged and abused. Such a horrid topic that needs to be addressed more often. Miz Jennings does not gloss over the horrific events that happen to Kami. And prepare yourself to lose your breath in the last 15% of the story. I definitely recommend this story to anyone who enjoys reading real-life, unforgettable love stories that will evoke a massive amount of emotions from your heart.
P.S. There is angst. Lots of lots of angst is in this story. I just thought the reader should know.
P.P.S. Grab the tissues too.