|AMAZON | KINDLE|
Heroine: Lily Calloway – Sex Addict, Shy
Hero: Loren Hale – Alcoholic, Bad Temper
What a crazy, fascinating story. This is not your typical new adult story with all the clichés in a romance. Rather, it’s about a dysfunctional couple with addictions and it intrigued me right from the beginning. Their story kept me glued to the pages.
"Strip your bed, throw the sheets in the washer, and hide all your porn. I'll lock up the booze."
Loren “Lo” Hale and Lily Calloway grew up together as best friends. They are both heirs to wealthy moguls, they live together, and both go to Penn State. For three years, they’ve pretended to be in a fake relationship so they can live together as they co-conspire to keep their addictions a secret. They isolate themselves from their families and don’t have friends to keep their addictions secret. They enable each other and have a dysfunctional relationship, in which they’re both slowly but definitely spiraling dangerously out of control if they don’t get the help they need soon.
Lily is addicted to sex and Lo is addicted to alcohol. The first half of the story gave me the dark and gritty lifestyle Lily and Lo carry on day after day as they struggle with their addictions. Lily trolls for men at clubs, frat parties, or hires gigolos to satisfy her sex addiction. Loren is an alcoholic who drinks 24/7. He drinks from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed, sometimes passing out. Both of their addictions are dangerous and all-consuming.
Lo and Lily love each other as friends immensely. Though never date, what they have together is everything in a relationship without sex. Their need for each other is desperate and debilitating. And right from the beginning of the story, I could tell there is quite a bit of sexual tension between them that simmers. And, because of their fake relationship, they must play the happy couple in front of their family - which means kissing and petting each other to put on a good show. Which has always confused Lily. She has convinced herself all of Lo’s affection is all for show; not knowing that he silently wants her beyond just being friends.
Then Lily finds herself in a predicament where sex isn’t available. And Lo finally reaches a breaking point and admits to Lily that he wants to be the one she turns to… permanently. So, they start up a real relationship. This will be the first time Lily is in a monogamous relationship and to make this unconventional relationship work, they both must find a way to be a couple and appease both their addictions at the same time. Lo must manage his drinking so he’s able to to satisfy Lily’s needs. Lily must find a way to curve her sexual cravings so she doesn’t step out on Lo. But can she control her sexual addiction and stay faithful to Lo? Are they strong enough to be in a relationship together? This couple is a hot mess and you know this emotional train wreck is going to crash at any moment, but you just don’t know when.
Our selfishness wedges between us. Neither of us is willing to give up what we love for each other. Not yet. And I’m not sure what it’s going to take to let go of our addictions.
Lily is the exact opposite of how I would have pictured a sex addict, being that she’s shy, timid, and blushes about sex. And she’s very weak; always being coddled by Lo. However, when she is on the hunt, she becomes a different person; a more brazen person because she needs to feed her addiction. I actually had a harder time with Lily’s addiction than I did Lo’s. Lily’s addiction is her way to self-medicate her sadness and anxiety. But some of Lily’s ways to satisfy her sexual compulsions made me a very uncomfortable. There is a point in the story when she really starts to spin out of control and it was flat-out disturbing. While I didn’t quite understand the why of Lily’s sex addiction, though I assume it’s fill a void in her life. Her addiction is depicted to be very real as I felt her heartbreaking emotions throughout the story.
There is one thing that I’m not sure is worth mentioning but I will admit to being surprised by the lack of sex scenes with Lily and her random men. I guess I expected to be more exposed to the gritty side of Lily’s one-night stands. Instead, those sex scenes fade to black. But the sex scenes between Lo and Lily are more detailed and pretty hot.
I just adore Lo, our broken and deeply flawed hero. Lo’s issues stem from his own father being an alcoholic and his mother abandoning him. He’s described as a functioning alcoholic, which I have experience being around in reality. So I understand this type of addiction a little better. Though he does function somewhat normally every day, Lo’s addiction is slowly killing him by destroying his liver and kidneys. Not to mention he may one day never wake up after passing out. Lo is also a loose cannon due to the excessive drinking, tending to piss people off with his bad temper.
As the story continues, they make two new friends, Connor and Ryke, who just sort of insert themselves into Lo and Lily’s lives. They are both amazing secondary characters that bring a whole lot to the story. I can’t tell you how much I adore both Connor and Ryke. And, for the first time, Lo and Lily have friends who care about them. Lo and Lily know they are on thin ice as their addictions start to take a toll on their relationship and questions are being asked as their friends notice things are not what they appear to be on the surface. How long will they continue to enable one another as their addictions continue to hurt and control their lives?
This story does have its grammar issues and some things are written repetitively. But I found this book to be so incredibly spellbinding and thought-provoking that it was easy to forgive the minor issues. This is not a sweet love story with a perfect HEA; it’s dark and ugly and heartbreaking. The main characters do things that will make you cringe and emotionally pain you. They do love each other genuinely even though they’re not good for one another and it’s only a matter of time before they must make a choice between their addictions and being together. There is some character growth with Lily and Lo, but they both have a long healing road ahead of them that will never end as addicts but they can be happy. And I’m 100% rooting for them to find their way to a happy ending. And that’s why I’m moving right along with this series and reading Addicted for Now. (Which I read already and it was awesome!)