I’ve been looking forward to reading this book for some time to find out Dante’s story as well as to see how everyone else is doing in Evergreen Grove. I was so happy when Elisabeth sent me a ARC so that I could be one of the lucky ones to read this book before the release date which is this Tuesday!!
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book is the fact that while it touches on the other characters, the main focus is on Dante and Michelle. At first, they don’t seem like a good match but the further the story progresses, the more it makes sense why these two should be a couple.
Dante has been hiding behind a mask for years, letting people assume that he’s a playboy boxer who doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. In reality, there’s a lot of things that have happened in his past that are starting to catch up to him and he’s getting tired of running. He really isn’t a playboy, will do just about anything to protect his family, treats women respectfully and hasn’t felt any desire in years. Then he meets Michelle and she changes his world.
Michelle has also been hiding by choosing to wear baggy clothing, move away from her hometown and generally tries not to be noticed. She was attacked by someone who was supposed to protect her and it’s left a scar that doesn’t appear to be healing very quickly. Michelle is really trying to find her way in the world, move past what haunts her and try to live her life without the pressure she was under when living with parents. When Dante starts to notice her, she finds it hard to believe but though she’s put up walls, she isn’t quite prepared for the feelings that develop the more time she spends around Dante.
Most of their friends and family aren’t sure about the two of them being together but sometimes the most unlikely pair turn out to be one of the best. Dante and Michelle have had some obstacles to overcome in their lives and soon realize that the connection they were searching for was right in front of them the whole time.
I will admit it was reading some parts of the book due to the nature of the content but I’m glad that a lot of detail didn’t go into the terrible thing that each of them experienced. My heart went out to Dante who spent years being ashamed of something that he was too young to comprehend at the time and being manipulated by someone who shouldn’t have been allowed near kids to be honest.
My heart also went out to Michelle because instead of having the support she needed to try to get past her ordeal, she was confronted with suspicion and many didn’t seem to believe what had taken place. She placed her trust in someone who was supposed to treat her right and have respect but instead turned out to be a total dirt bag.
Through patience and being open minded, Dante and Michelle are able to confide in each other and understand what it’s like to feel trapped with a secret that at times seems to shameful to share with others. They do hit some road bumps along the way as their friendship turns into romance, particularly when Dante is seriously injured. Dante and Michelle soon realize though that no matter what happens, it’s better to go through things together than to try to avoid.
I liked the fact that when Dante’s dad finds out what happened to his son, he doesn’t blame Dante but instead wants to go deal with the man who had caused such grief. Dante had assumed that his dad wouldn’t understand but instead he blows that theory out of the water and it gave me some insight into where Dante learned his strength from.
I also liked the fact that Michelle chose to put her foot down when her parents try to get her to stop going to college and go back home to work as a free secretary. She comes to the conclusion with Dante’s help how important it is to follow your heart and stand your ground.
This book was a fascinating mix of humor, romance, a touch of sadness and the importance of not going through a difficult time alone. Dante and Michelle really are a wonderful couple and I can’t wait to get more of a glimpse of their lives in the next book though I know it will be about a different character. I was so glad the way things were turning out for this couple at the end of the book that I nearly did a happy dance.
Overall, I really enjoyed reading this book and look forward to seeing what Elisabeth has next up her sleeve.
Where you can preorder this book for the amazing temporary price of $0.99! –
In light of this book being released on Tuesday, I will not be including what I am currently reading. Not to worry though as I will soon be back with my list of bookworm ramblings in my next post. Thank you so much for tuning in and be sure to check back soon.