Everything she knew to be true fell apart. Then fell apart again…
Michelle Willis is running from her past. What better place to hide than in the anonymity of New York City. Finding refuge in a tiny SoHo art gallery, she rebuilds her life one painting at a time.
A wrong turn sends Hunter McAvery on a crash course with disaster. He fights his own demons by following his big brother’s lead – drinking and bed-hopping his way through Manhattan.
A glance at Michelle’s self-portrait triggers emotions Hunter can’t tamp down. Driven to meet the artist, he discovers a fiery chemistry as their lives collide. But when their past threatens to tear them apart, can their love survive?
~*~ MY REVIEW~*~
I've read several, if not all, of Ms. Bunino's books but haven't come close to loving any of them as much as I loved this newest one. This was a great introduction to the McAvery brothers, Hunter and his older twin brothers, Alex and Liam.
Michelle was introduced to us as a somewhat broken character. She had no family, she often had nightmares, she never took the subway, she didn't socialize, and her only friends were Chey and Miranda from the gallery. Eat, sleep and work were all she knew. And then a sexy, tattooed bad-boy walked into her life. I loved the heroine from beginning to end. Her past was revealed slowly, but she didn't elicit feelings of pity, nor did she speak to the people she came into contact with any discernible reservation. On the surface she appeared normal. Despite having a player-type show an interest in her, she didn't run away from him, but she didn't make it easy for him to get to know her either.
Hunter was a more complex, tortured character. He suffered from survivor's guilt over the loss of someone close to his heart. Hunter then followed in Alex's footsteps, drinking and sleeping his way through women, to escape his demons. By the time he met Michelle, he'd somewhat got his act together. It became evident that he wasn't really the player type. Of all the brothers, he was the softer one, the one most likely to make something more of himself. Throughout the story, he struggled heavily with moving on. Not just from the past but also getting out of the bar life and going back to his old job. I felt sorry for Hunter when Alex kept reprimanding him for something or other, or when Michelle kept catching him with some woman hanging over him. My heart broke for Michelle in those moments, and I wanted so badly to smack him upside the head.
If you're expecting a lot of sheet-gripping, sweaty sex from the get go, you'll be disappointed. Their attraction was instantaneous, but the progression of their relationship was a very slow burn. They got carried away a few times, but it never led to more. Instead, you're in for a wonderful development of a friendship where they opened up to one another about their ghosts, Hunter helped build her confidence through boxing, and whenever he f*ed up, she allowed him to explain himself. The sheet-gripping didn't happen until near the end, but it was so worth the wait and suited them perfectly. The ending was a tear-jerker. That had to be the saddest "ending before they even began" scenario I'd ever come across. But don't worry, these kids eventually got their act together for their HEA.
Alex turned out to be a decent guy in the end, and the tension with Miranda has me excited for their story.
~*~ FAVORITE QUOTES~*~
“I don’t want to be seen as the girl with the problems. That’s why I moved to New York, to blend into the scenery. To be that nondescript person you forget the moment she’s out of sight. As soon as I unload my issues, I become the girl with issues."
“I’m trying like hell not to kiss you.” Hunter straightened his back but didn’t loosen his grip on her arms.
Her skin prickled from the nearness of his body, and she let her gaze drift to his lips. “Why?” she whispered.
He blew a slow breath between his teeth. “Nothing good would come of it. I’m not capable of giving or feeling… or offering much to you right now.” He shook his head but didn’t move from her body.
“Kiss me, Hunter.” Raising her lashes, she dared to look him in the eyes, almost afraid of what she’d see.
“You don’t understand. You’re too… good.” He averted his gaze.
“Maybe you should let me decide what’s good for me.”
“I want you more than I have anyone or anything in my life. I can’t promise you anything past this minute. So say the word, and I’ll walk away. But if you let me in, I promise to love you like you deserve. I plan to explore every inch of your body, to learn what makes you sigh and moan.”
*Complimentary copy provided by the author for the purpose of an honest review*