Authors: Liz Reinhardt and Steph Campbell
Series: Stand Alone
Published By: Self Published (August 13, 2012)
Source: ARC Provided by the Authors (in exchange for an honest review)
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
My Rating: 4.5 Stars
Nineteen-year-old Whit Conrad leaves her conservative Pennsylvania home for sunny California, looking for independence, a fresh start, and a place to stash her grief. She promptly finds a job at a tattoo parlor, a craptastic first apartment, and one friend—Ryan—who is a little less friend, a little more benefits.
Deo Beckett is a soulful surfer with a passion for tattoos and beautiful women. On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, he finds himself living with his grandfather, recently unemployed, and seriously adrift. He doesn’t know much about what he wants out of life, but he does know his current situation isn't cutting it.
When Deo meets Whit, she’s all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn’t take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what's under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.
Too bad Whit has a past she doesn't plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is. She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.
Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.
Having your guard up is one thing, but are the lengths Whit goes to to protect her secret worth throwing away the second chance she has at happiness with Deo?
I absolutely love the books that completely consume you. The ones where once you start reading them, they are all that matters. The rest of the world drops away and just you and the characters in the story you are reading exist.
You become so wrapped up in the story and in the lives of the characters that they start to become a part of you, they start to be friends and people you care about and you just can't get enough of their story. You have to put everything on hold until you know how it ends.
As soon as I started this book, I knew it was going to be one of those reads. The all consuming, better have nothing else planned that day because it won't get done, read.
This book is full of completely great characters, Marigold, Rocko, grandpa (all so so funny!), Whit, but Deo was my favorite. He was just incredible. One thing if for sure, Reinhardt and Campbell know how to write a guy that will make your heart melt and wish you were the girl he was in love with. He knows how to treat those he loves well and love them completely. He isn't perfect, but I think that was the whole point. This book is full of characters who are flawed and make mistakes and that just makes them all the more real and likeable.
Whit's was so full of anger and guilt, but she was strong too, maybe even stronger than she knew. She just about broke my heart at times and other times I wanted to shake her and tell her how it really was. To make her see reason and to know that yes, she did deserve to be happy and to be loved.
She grew a lot in this story but so did Deo, I couldn't help but fall in love with them both.
Reinhardt and Campbell truly did an amazing job making this feel real with the raw grittiness that made it a fantastic and heartfelt read that I had a hard time putting down.
I was sad to see it end.