Fans of intensely emotional romances full of heart and soul will be drawn to the connection between two people that started in high school to reach a much different level years later when the heroine is traumatized by her ex and he seeks to help her recover. Keep reading to get a tempting taste of Every Time My Heart Breaks by Linda Kage, along with my impressions of it, then add this powerful tale to your bookshelf!
How do you make yourself fall in love with someone?
After his family friend, Chloe Ryan, is traumatized by a disturbed ex-boyfriend, Luke Hamilton is “encouraged” to step up and be the kind of partner she needs.
Problem is, he’s never been in love before.
He’s not one to give up, though. His stubborn, competitive nature, mixed with the dutiful loyalty he inherited from his parents, makes it impossible for him to say no. And romancing Chloe becomes priority number one.
But his feisty contender gives him the challenge of a lifetime when she’d rather argue with him than accept a simple compliment. Chloe demands honest, genuine feelings from someone before she’ll even think about opening her heart again, and since Luke refuses to back down from his determined quest, he decides to grow some feelings.
Except, uh, yeah…That’s easier said than done since he has no idea how to even begin the process of falling.
Chloe is a simple woman with simple wants. All she’d like is to work her job, find a partner to share her life with, and then grow a family with him.
But apparently, that’s just too much to ask for.
After her ex kidnaps and terrorizes her, Chloe is suddenly put on six weeks of leave from her job to recover, she can’t handle it when anyone touches her, and her big dream of the simple life seems more impossible to reach than ever.
Until Luke bulldozes his way into the picture, determined to help her through her rough patch and promising her everything she’s ever wanted.
The problem is Chloe loved Luke way back when she was young, and no one’s ever broken her heart the way he did when he didn’t even notice her in return. No way is she going to risk more heartbreak at his hands now. Chloe becomes just as determined to push him away as he is to stick by her side.
Let the battle of wills begin.
MY IMPRESSIONS OF THIS BOOK:
From the moment Luke Hamilton comes to Chloe Ryan's rescue in high school, defending her against bullies, she fell head over heels for him even knowing nothing would ever come from it as he was one of the cool kids and she was a chubby nobody. She never saw him as anything other than her white knight and when she's traumatized by an ex boyfriend years later it's Luke who once again comes to her rescue...helping her work through her trauma, as well as his own feelings of helplessness in not being there for her sooner. As the healing process starts for them both, Luke finally comes to the realization that his feelings for Chloe have always been about more than friendship and now's the chance for him to admit the truth of what's been obvious to others for a very long time.
This book starts out with a flashback, a scene from high school of Chloe being bullied for her weight. Luke's definitely the cool kid with the cool car, a senior to the freshman Chloe, and it was a heartwarming start to a story that quickly turned heavy. As teens, Luke didn't hesitate in defending Chloe and I can completely understand why she fell for him in that moment and why he became a lifelong savior to her as he's seen her at her worst and never turned away. From the start readers see Luke as sweet and caring, a bit clueless at times, but once he decides on a course of action he's all in...becoming a man on a mission. The romance between him and Chloe might've started out a bit awkwardly (being told he HAS to fall in love with her) but it becomes obvious that this is just a push to do something he ultimately wants to do. It's a bit of a bumpy journey though as Chloe wants something real, something meaningful with Luke, and with a show of strength and determination she demands all he has to give.
Chloe's an immensely likable heroine, someone who's been through a lot in her life. From teenage bullies to a crazed ex she's been put through the wringer and still survived. Her most recent trauma though, dished out by an ex, has left her very bruised both inside and out, left her full of fear and a desire to not be touched. After this dark event, Luke's the only one she lets into her life as she still sees him as her rescuer, and together they both start working through their feelings...which will require a lot of tissues for readers.
This is an intense romance at times, particularly after Chloe's attack. Ms. Kage dealt with this heavy issue in a realistic and respectful way though, showing the effects not only on the victim but on those around the victim too. From this moment on the connection between the main couple turned sweet and sensual, becoming even more protective and loving, while giving Chloe the support she needs to move on from her fears to become strong-willed and to stand her ground. There's so much to like about this book and so much that will resonate with readers. Readers will find themselves captivated, hurting and loving right alongside the characters as Ms. Kage expertly plays with their emotions. Amongst all these good things are a few less than perfect things. First, is the silly reason given for why Luke must fall in love with Chloe. It created an awkward start and leant a bit of superficiality to their early feelings. There's also a slew of characters who show up throughout the story, friends and family from previous books, which makes for a rather crowded narrative with names quickly forgotten. Despite these small quibbles, this is still a powerful read, one full of heart and soul that breaks your heart before building it back up and leaving you happily sated.
My rating for this is a B+
*I got this book from the author for review in exchange for my honest opinion.
Linda writes romance fiction from YA to adult, contemporary to fantasy. Most Kage stories lean more toward the lighter, sillier side with a couple of meaningful moments thrown in. Focuses more on entertainment value and emotional impact. She likes the drama and crazy, over-the-top plots that make you cry, then laugh, get mad then sigh happily. Most stories are explicit but a few are sex-free. No dark or taboo topics, but many are not safe stories either.
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