A contemporary romantic drama about loss, healing, and love's ability to reach beyond scars and secrets, no matter how deep or hidden.
WARNING: This book is intended for 18+ readers ONLY. Potentially triggering content and concepts in books to follow.
More than a year after the death of his best friend, Josh is still tormented by the past. Everything changes when free-spirited Willow barges into his life. She challenges him, helps him feel something other than the overwhelming pain, sadness, and anger.
There’s just one problem.
Underneath that carefree spirit, Willow is elusive and secretive. Josh believes she may be fighting a few demons of her own, but he harder he tries to uncover the truth, the more she pushes him away.
Can Josh get her to open up before it’s too late? Or will he discover that some secrets are better left untold?
Quirky, clumsy, and always a little off-key, Kate Givans has always loved books and the words contained within. Now that she’s writing the stories, she’s filling them with broken characters, angst, and even a few of those happily-ever-afters that seem to evade us in real life.
When not writing, this gypsy-hearted wife and mother of five can be found guzzling coffee, day-dreaming, dancing for no reason at all, playing with the voices in her head, watching her favorite shows (Originals, Grey’s, OUAT, The Following), listening to music, and reminding herself to “breathe.”
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Four Solid Stars
**Possible spoilers ahead**
To me, death is peace. Peace from pain, and from an existence much worse than death: torture.
First things first: This was a fantastic debut novel. I honestly couldn’t believe how well written this story was; and from a first time author. BRAVO, Kate!!
Secondly: This was not an easy read.
There. Whew! I thought I’d get that out of the way only because this was far from a typical romance story. I wouldn’t necessarily call it dark or anything like that, but parts of this did make me want to jump off the emotional rollercoaster. However, I was drawn to story, so much so that after I jumped off the ride, I had to pick it right back up and jump back in.
I knew so little about her past, but I knew her present. She was a friend, a lover, an old soul that connected with me on a level that couldn’t be explained.
Ok. How do I accurately describe Josh and Willow? The words broken and complicated come to mind.
Josh is going through a lot in his life. After the death of his best friend, in which he blames himself for, he almost completely shuts people out of his life. He has no room for complications or relationships. But when Willow suddenly enters his life, he finds himself being drawn by her free spirit. The draw she has on him was almost instantaneous and he had no choice but to see where it would lead.
All I’d wanted was for her to open up to me, to let me in, let me love her and for her to love me back. I hadn’t ever considered whether or not the relationship would be healthy for either one of us.
Willow is full of secrets; a whole boatload of them. This woman remains a pure mystery to Josh, and if I’m being honest, me. She was such a whirlwind of energy that I understood why Josh was drawn to her. But as much as she wants to be with Josh, something is holding her back.
“I hide for a reason, Josh.”
That quote right there says A LOT! I had big issues with Willow, like HUGE. The biggest of them all was that I knew nothing about her. N-O-T-H-I-N-G. I liked her free spirit attitude, but that wasn’t enough. I wanted to make sure that whoever this chick is, she deserves my beloved Josh.
This book isn't all rainbows and butterflies. In fact, we deal with a lot of heavy emotions. And I will warn you: This is NOT a standalone and there are two more parts of the series. I know, I know…not all of us are fans of these types of books, especially me, but I’m really happy to have given it a chance. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the next book. Bravo, Kate!
I first met Willow out on Old Mill Road. Standing on the ledge of the arched concrete bridge, her arms spread wide, she looked like a bird about to take flight. I probably would have taken more time to admire the absolute freedom she embodied in that moment, the auburn curls whipping around her upturned face, the way the moonlight made her porcelain skin shimmer…but it looked like she was about to jump.
I remember my hesitation, how desperately I wanted to turn back the way I’d come and pretend I’d never seen her. I know it makes me sound like an insensitive prick, but I wasn’t exactly thrilled at having the life or death of some crazy chick thrown in my lap. Not that I didn’t understand, at least on some level, what might be going through her head. Hell, I knew, better than most, what it meant to feel like life would never get better.
It’d only been six weeks since my release from Shady Oak’s mental facility. I wasn’t the person to talk her down; I didn’t know the first thing about helping someone find the light at the end of the tunnel. Hell, I still had days that I’d much rather jump right along with her than try and brave another day.
Thankfully, that particular day hadn’t been one of them.
I stood there a few moments longer, considering my options. I could turn around and go back the way I came, but I wasn’t exactly up for that. I could go past her and risk spooking her, but the last thing I needed was the aftermath of watching her plummet to her death – calling the police, filing a report, explaining what had happened. It wouldn’t hurt to at least try and talk her off the ledge, right?
Having made my decision, I edged cautiously along the gravel path, taking slow and calculated steps towards bird-girl. Stopping just feet away from her, I weighed the risk of grabbing ahold of the oversized sweater jacket she was wearing. My luck, the damn thing would come clean off and she’d end up in the water anyway, so I decided against it.
I was still trying to decide how to go about helping her when she spoke, voice confident as she kept her face upturned towards the night sky. “I’m not going to jump.”
I cleared my throat and hoped to God the irritation didn’t seep through. “No offense, miss, but that’s not what it looks like from here.”
Her head tilted slightly, as if she were trying to shrug, but the movement came up short. I waited for some other response, but the uncomfortable silence stretched on, giving me the impression that my presence was both unwanted and unnecessary.
“Well, you…uh, have a nice night,” I finally said, taking a couple backward steps towards town.
“You could join me.” Her words, prying and inquisitive, stopped me dead in my tracks.
“Yeeaaah….Thanks, but I prefer to keep my feet on the ground.”
She chuckled. The light, carefree sound intrigued and, for some unknown reason, annoyed me all at once. Maybe because I’d never laughed like that. Hell, I didn’t know anyone that had. It left me questioning what the hell she was doing up there in the first place.
Crazy. Definitely crazy.
Determined to get as far away from her as possible, I started backing away. I didn’t make it but a few steps when she glanced over her shoulder at me. The wide-eyed conviction in her sparkling, crystal blue eyes ensnared me, rooted me to the ground beneath my feet.
“How will you ever learn to fly if you don’t take time to spread your wings?” she asked.
And just like that, the pull I’d felt just seconds before shook free, floating away with the cold, bitter wind. I’d taken enough rides on the crazy train to last a lifetime. “Well, anyway. It was, uh, nice meeting you.”
Shinedown, Save Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8dyxGiBx3g
The Fray, You Found Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFg_8u87zT0
Get Scared, Built for Blame: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k82La8Lkra8
3 Doors Down, So Far Down: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDK5qGlLT8s
Bush, Greedy Fly: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6FExyoAh6Ng
Nickleback, Savin’ Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_JQiEs32SqQ
Stone Sour, Bother: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-pXD0FXLQ8
Papa Roach, Scars: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHbNU9WuVgw
The Fray, How to Save a Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cjVQ36NhbMk
Coldplay, Fix You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hbJuEFs7-kU
Imagine Dragons, Demons: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mWRsgZuwf_8&feature=kp
Jasmine Thomspon, Everybody Hurts: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KWGL3SbhLDQ
Seether, Fade Away: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aNgQr_FdZvE
Goo Goo Dolls, Before It’s Too Late: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EtSAIhP1-5s
Sick Puppies, All the Same: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cs72v-2zjsg
John Legend, All of Me: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=450p7goxZqg
Hoobastank, Lucky: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f0M1lhBLbeU
Adelitas Way, Alive: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRs-1QVo4_M&feature=kp
Evanescence, Bring Me to Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3YxaaGgTQYM
Little Green Cars, The John Wayne: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VJEVkuNsEi0
Breaking Benjamin, Diary of Jane: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWaB4PXCwFU
Fireflight, Desperate: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQctVDvIFWg
Lynard Skynard, Free Bird: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=np0solnL1XY
Goo Goo Dolls, Here is Gone: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNtN83-vQmw
3 Doors Down, Let Me Go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thc1MtNagC8
The Fray, Never Say Never: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aihu16RyYp8Art of Dying, Die Trying: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GFlVi9MHpDc