At first glance, Cade and Aiden hardly seem like a match made in heaven. Their worlds couldn’t be further apart. Cade is quiet, serious, and determined to succeed; Aiden's a party-loving frat boy. Cade comes from a rough home and worked hard to get the scholarships that make it possible for him to attend college; Aiden's had it all thrown in his lap by supportive, kind, and wealthy parents. Cade wants nothing to do with Aiden, but from the moment they meet, Aiden is determined to find a way to bring their different worlds together.
Aiden manages to persuade Cade he’s a decent guy, and a tentative friendship becomes much more. But a trip to Aiden's family cottage puts Cade in the path of a ghost from his past, and a dark secret he never expected to face again. Cade did what he had to do to escape his dead-end life, but now he sees he didn’t leave it as far behind him as he thought.
I absolutely LOVED this book.
Cade and Aiden are perfect for one another -- when life and their pasts aren't getting in their way.
I loved Aiden's skills of pursuit in this book, which nearly bordered on stalking Cade, but not really in my opinion. He just *really* liked the guy and was persistent. Extremely, extremely persistent.
Plus, Aiden is one blurting motherfucker, Which. I. LOVE., so of course I want him to win his man's jaded little broken heart.
[For example, when Aiden says he'll back off, then Cade can't stop himself from 'accidentally' kissing him...]Blurters are like unicorns filled with chocolate in my world. So yes, please!
“Okay. It’s interesting that you did that as soon as I said I wasn’t going to pursue you anymore. Like maybe you didn’t like the idea of giving up entirely. And it would really be more flattering if you didn’t look so much like you’re about to puke. Or maybe like you got hit in the balls. Which, of course, can often lead to puking, so I guess maybe that’s what you look like. It’d be more flattering if you didn’t look like you got hit in the balls.”
He waited for Cade, smiled encouragingly, then added, “Of course, talking about balls makes this sound almost sexual, but I’m definitely not seeing anything in your expression that makes me think you’re having sexy thoughts. If I’m wrong about that, you should let me know. Absolutely. I could help you with that. But we’d also have to work a bit on your facial expressions, because if this is your turned-on face, I really, really don’t want to see your O-face.”
Cade's parent's were fucking awful and I loved that he was able to escape their orbit, even if he had to blackmail them to do what they should have more than willingly done in the first place. Lazy, leeching bastards, charading as what very loosely could be called parents.
And when Cade's shady, but necessary, past comes a' callin' during a visit to Aiden's parents' lake house, I loved how Cade finally came clean to Aiden and told the villain, "Fuck you and fuck NO, asshole!" Even if finally taking back his self-worth from an abusive prick may have cost him his happiness, Aiden.
But people underestimate Aiden all the time, including Cade, only seeing him as the shiny, happy golden boy. And Aiden's confession of who he really is inside, how he feels deep down? Well, it's extremely touching and heart-felt.
“If someone’s golden on the surface, and then you burrow through and don’t run into something else? It’s not because they’re solid gold, Cade! It’s because they’re hollow! Or shallow… I don’t know, pick your metaphor. But the point is, they’re not real people! No one is golden all the way through!”So we do get our well-deserved HEA and all ends right with the world.
“Not even you?”
"The golden part of me? That’s the surface. For sure. I’m shiny and happy and easy to get along with. Whatever. That’s my surface. And then? Yeah. Hollow. No depth, no core, nothing real inside me. Just emptiness.” His grip on Cade’s hands tightened almost painfully. “Until you. And now you’re inside me. You’re my core. If anyone cares enough to burrow through the shiny outside? They’d find you, Cade.”
His voice was soft, now, his smile tentative but tender. “So, no. I don’t care if you’re grumpy. I mean, I’d rather you weren’t, because it can’t be much fun for you to be grumpy. But for me? You’re inside me. You’re part of me. You are what you are, and I love you for it.”
** Warning: The angst is OFF THE CHARTS in this story, so if you aren't a fan, pass. But I really enjoyed it, a lot. These is Amy Lane levels of angst, folks, so be prepared.
5 *what-kind-of-bread?* stars for this angstacularly satisfying read.
My copy of the book was provided by the publisher for a fair, unbiased review.
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