Heroine: Kylie – Wife, Loves her husband deeply
Hero: Cooper – Husband, Fights for Wife
Two years ago, Kylie and Cooper lost their baby at birth. Before this happened, they were madly, deeply, crazily in love. They had an indescribable connection they thought they would never lose. But losing their child meant losing themselves to their grief. And their marriage shattered and broken under the all-consuming grief that burdens their hearts.
Instead of divorcing, they stayed together, but the marriage had been damaged by the tragedy. Now there is a gaping hole between them they don’t know how to repair. Kylie misses her husband desperately. She misses his affection. She misses being wanted and needed. But Cooper was inconsolable. He couldn’t touch his wife. He couldn’t be near her. He wanted space. Which led to him ignoring Kylie for so long it left her feeling alone and so terribly sad. Unable to handle the emptiness any longer, Kyle proposes the unthinkable to Cooper… an open marriage.
”I needed and craved his love and when he stopped giving it to me, I lost who I was. I felt stuck. Stuck with someone who owned me; heart, body and soul, but didn’t seem to want me anymore.”
Their marriage is already damaged, but giving themselves to other people makes things even more complicated between Kylie and Cooper as they start to spiral out of control down a dark path; one full of deep pain, jealousy, sadness, all-consuming grief, guilt, and emptiness . They made a mistake – a mistake their not sure they can ever come back from. But Kylie is tired of the random men. She’s tired of the distance between her and Cooper. And now she wants her husband back desperately. She’s ready to fight for him. However, if he isn’t willing to fight for her in return, it might be time for Kylie to move on and move forward with her life.
”If you don’t get your shit together, then I’m done. I’m not standing in the shadows anymore.”
These two deeply damaged characters started out as a frustrating, irritating, crazy hot mess. And I couldn’t stand them. They kept making bad choices that were hard to understand. And I didn’t understand why they didn’t just get a divorce or at least couple’s therapy. I was pretty convinced they weren’t meant to be together.
But then as I read on, the story showed me the intense love they have for each other. And I began to understand Kylie and Cooper better. So, rather than be angry at them for being so screwed up, I started rooting for them to *fix* things. It’s also when I got Cooper’s POV, which helped me understand him better. Because let me tell you… I couldn’t stand him at first. Then I started to embrace him, root for him, and love him when he finally pulled up his big boy pants and fought for his wife. He showed me the man he is underneath his grief; a strong, possessive, dominant man who loves his wife immensely.
Beyond all the emotional turmoil between these two, there is so much love and passion between them, which came out full force when they made love for the first time after two years. And WOWZERS… these two are so incredibly hot and steamy together. *purrs with satisfaction*
But things were not easy for them. They had to continue to fight every day for one another, even after they realized they weren’t ready to give up on each other. There are things between them that need to be reconciled, forgiven, and trust needed to be built again. It’s a difficult journey, but they persevere through it all, even when the odds are against them.
“We’ve both learned that love is not perfect. It doesn’t come in pretty packages. Sometimes it dents and bruises and does things it regrets, but it also forgives, shows mercy, and supports. It soothes and fights to the death.”
The first 70-75% of this story is emotionally intense. It made me feel so much - everything. But the last 25% is when I felt like the story lost its emotional edge. It felt long-winded and a little over-the-top mushy for my taste. There is a semi-love triangle, and I think Angie did a tasteful job with it. But I really didn’t care for Gray and all the drama that came with him. I thought he was way out of line with his actions. Cooper and Gray are best friends, and the fact that he tried to piss a circle around Kylie, claiming her as his, was just wrong, wrong, wrong.
However, with that said, this is still an impressive, character driven, emotionally charged debut book by Angie McKeon. She does not pull punches with your emotions in the beginning. And she certainly does not pull any punches with all the angst. There is tons of angst. TONS. I felt such overwhelming frustration, heartache, and grief for these characters that they dug themselves into my heart. I also felt their passion and happiness. If you love reading stories like Arsen by Mia Asher or the Avoiding series by K.A. Linde, then this book is certainly for you.