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If You Stay (Beautifully Broken #1) by Courtney Cole

24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole. 


He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 

But he’s got his reasons. 

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count. 

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect façade. 
So he slipped far, far from it. 

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right? 

And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila. 
Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it. 

He knows that. And he’s working on it. 

But is that enough to make her stay?

Four Stars

She’s like a breath of fresh air.
I may be the Big Bad Wolf, but even wolves need to breathe. 

This was just the kind of book I needed. It was one of those can’t-put-it-down ones that I often crave on my day off. Though this was a short read, it packed quite a punch. On the surface, it’s a story of opposites attracting. The sweet and beautiful Mila paired with Pax, the bad boy with an awful reputation. They first meet under the direst of circumstances, with Pax barely clinging to life and Mila saving him. What happens after the incident is when things start really to heat up. 

I feel like there’s a certain sadness to him, probably because his eyes hint at things that I don’t yet know about him, troubled things. His body is hard, his face is hard, and his eyes are hard. Like stone.
And even still, I am pulled inexplicably to him.
I can’t explain it. It’s not logical. 

Our Hero, Pax, is not your typical Hero. He uses drugs, liquor and woman to cope with his hidden demons. He comes from a very wealthy family, but after the death of his mother, he and his father are not the same. Pax has so much potential, but he continuously wastes it away with his wild lifestyle. When he accidently overdoses, is he at his lowest point. This is when Mila first meets him: Slumped and sprawled in his car with no help. Mila just prays that it wasn’t too late when he was finally taken by ambulance. 

When Pax first wakes up in the hospital, he can’t remember what happened. But what surprises him even more is when Mila walks into his room, checking to see if he is ok. He doesn’t remember her, but what he notices immediately grabs his attention. 

She’s staring at me with clear, green eyes and she’s holding a vase of flowers.
And she’s fucking beautiful.
My gut immediately tightens in response. Holy shit. 

Mila is not the type girl Pax normally hang around with. She gives off an aura of wholesomeness and goodness that is very foreign to Pax. All I know is… I’m drawn to her. She’s everything that I’m not and it fascinates the hell out of me. 

Pax tries to get Mila out of his mind, but he is determined to find out who she is. Why? He doesn’t even know. He knows she’s too good for the likes of him, but that doesn’t stop him from pursing her. Pax manages to fuck up a few more times before Mila reluctantly tries to establish a relationship with him. How he manages to clean his messes up is beyond me. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been as forgiving as Mila, but then again, he is trying. 

“Something about you makes me think that I can be better, maybe even get my shit straight. I haven’t felt that way in a very long time.” ~ Pax 

Mila is still holding a bit of herself back; hesitant and scared ofthe incident happening again. Pax is definitely hiding something. She convinces him to seek help and reluctantly agrees. But once he uncovers his secrets, how will Pax cope? Will he resort to drugs again? Will Pax allow her to help him or will he push her away?

“I’m just not that good at relationships. I haven’t had any practice. But if you stay with me, if you stay… I promise that I will never leave you again.” 

This was such a good read and I’m so thankful for Trish for recommending it to me. It was a tad bit on a darker side, but it was crafted very well. I really liked it and would definitely recommend it.

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