It's been six months since Ashlyn Daniels was kicked out of her home. Six months since she stood up to her abusive stepfather and got a busted rib—and seeing all her things set ablaze in a backyard bonfire—for her trouble. Never going back. She doesn't need trouble...especially if trouble is tattoo artist Lane Garrett, who's six-feet-plus of tattooed hotness and a complete ass.
Lane has spent the last decade fighting to support his family. To protect them. There's no room for romance, even with a fragile (yet amusingly feisty) stunner...even if she somehow manages to invade his world and his heart.
But while some secrets are as visible as ink on the skin, others must remain hidden at all costs...
Some books resonate with bits of our past. This book was one that did just that. Ash is a broken girl trying to put the pieces back together. Growing up in an abusive household, she escapes and tries to find her feet. Fear makes up her world and she struggles to make heads or tails of what she needs to do and to find a place she can be safe. Her new job as a barista is a good start. When co-worker Emily befriends her and she meets her brother Lane, her world spins off its axis once again.
Homeless and with a rescued puppy after some more unfortunate events with her roommate, Ash is on her own sleeping in rest stops and struggling for survival. She is haunted by the voice inside her head telling her she is worthless and will never amount to anything. The voice of her stepfather.
Things between Lane and Ash heat up, but both have emotional scars that leave them prickly and not sure about trust and longevity in relationships. This is the part that really got me. How do you love someone who is, in their mind, broken? How do you trust again when you have been hurt by the very people who are supposed to protect and love you? It is soul crushing and takes a long time to get over.
Hank the puppy, a little girl named Harper and a whole lot of love and perseverance make this book a stand out read that I could not put down until it was done. Then I stared at the wall and cried. It was amazing. Cole Gibsen is a writer who knows her craft and has characters fairly breathing off the page.
I loved, loved, loved this book and I can't wait to read everything she has ever written. Broken people can be mended if they find their own worth and family is what and who you bring into your life. The bad doesn't have to hurt and you can walk away...