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ARC Review: I Stand Before You (Judge Me Not #1) by S.R. Grey

When it comes to tattooed bad boys, Chase Gartner is the real deal. Partying, engaging in meaningless sex, getting into fights---Chase indulges in it all during his late teen years, thus firmly solidifying his status as a heartbreakingly gorgeous but way-too dangerous-to-trust guy in his hometown of Harmony Creek, Ohio. Then, following one fateful night of reckless decisions, Chase's actions finally catch up to him and land him in prison.

Now, four years have passed and Chase finds himself a free man. He returns to Harmony Creek, ready to pick up the pieces and start rebuilding his shattered life.

Things are off to a promising start when he meets Kay Stanton, a young woman with a tragic past of her own. Despite a powerful attraction, Chase and Kay are naturally hesitant to become involved. That's why friendship feels like the safest option. But when passions ignite and love blossoms, a relationship that is destined and meant to be can only be resisted for so long. When Chase and Kay finally succumb to their feelings they realize being together feels more right and true than anything they have ever experienced.

But their love is soon tested. Chase's wild past still haunts and tempts him, and Kay is keeping a secret that could tear them apart.

I Stand Before You is a journey of hope and forgiveness, coming to terms with the past and moving forward. But mostly it's a story of two damaged people who take a chance, open their hearts, and find true love.

New Adult/Contemporary Romance genres. First in a series.

***warning: contains graphic sexual situations, drug use, some violence, and profanity***

Recommended for ages 17+

4.5 - 5 Stars

I was smitten with Chase and Kay!

How many times have you wanted someone to just be there for you when you fall? How many times have you wanted someone to just get you and not judge you? In S.R. Grey's I Stand Before You, both Chase and Kay have endured tragic events in their pasts, but it's not until they meet and start to lean on each other for support when each begin to heal their broken souls.

The first thing that caught my attention was the prologue. It's gritty and just reels you right in! You get a good idea how Chase becomes a tattooed, bad boy. The story is written in both Chase and Kay's POV. When you meet Kay, it is at a sad moment. I felt her pain when she reflected on her past. She blames herself for what happened in her life and can't quite move on. A true friendship is formed when their paths cross.

One of the things that I loved about this story is that S.R. Grey takes the time to nurture Chase and Kay's friendship. They tease and laugh. They're playful and so adorable with each other! When they start sharing more and more about their pasts, I could sense that they have great chemistry. I could feel the butterflies fluttering when their friendship turns into something more. When things finally get rolling, they can't get enough of each other...rawr!!! It's “crazy-good!”

The heart of this story includes temptation, redemption and forgiveness. It's about giving someone who has fallen another chance. At the end Kay is consistent with who she is and who she wants to be moving forward. When she finally reveals her secret, I can understand why she was afraid to tell someone. For Chase, well he's pretty darn lucky to have someone as supportive as Kay in his life when things turn ugly.

This is the third title I've read from S.R. Grey, and I loved it! Yes, some parts are raw and violent, but overall, the writing and romance in I Stand Before You has a timeless and classic feel to it, which I simply adored. This book ends with an HEA even if there's a little cliffhanger at the end. If you're a fan of friends-to-lovers stories, if you're a fan of bad boys trying to be good, or stories of redemption and forgiveness, then you may want to give I Stand Before You a try. I know I was completely smitten with Chase and Kay, terms of endearment and all!

Never Doubt Me (Judge Me Not #2) is expected to be published Spring 2014.

* A complimentary copy was provided for an honest review *

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