4/5 stars!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Wow, what I am feeling right now is quite hard to be put down into words. I just need a minute to let this feeling wash over me. What an emotional heartfelt love story.
It was about two broken hearts and souls trying to find and heal each other. Gabriel has issues being touched by anyone as a result of his tormented experience of being abducted as a little kid. He wanted a better life for himself so he talked himself into going to a strip club to find someone to teach him intimacy. Who would have thought he would instantly get attached to Crystal, a stripper who has sad eyes and distant look in her face. He thought she would be able to heal him but it’s him who understood all the despair that happened to Crystal, all the heartbreaks she endured and it is Gabriel who eventually heals her.
I was very surprised to find the turn of events in the book. I didn’t expect it to be so emotionally draining and engaging by both character’s pasts. It was heart wrenching to read them. It was not easy at all. There are a few places I actually had tears falling down my cheeks and felt my heart being squeezed so tight that it was hard to breathe. Mia is master at creating broken heroes and heroines. There is tenderness and vulnerability in every character she created. I felt instantly attached to and protected of Gabriel, the steady, gentle soul. Crystal(Ellie is her real name) is one heroine that I will not easily forget. So breakable and so vulnerable. The love between Gabriel and Crystal is so gentle and tender. I love their story with all my heart and soul.
I think the highlight of the book has to be the last 30%. I felt so emotional seeing both characters soaring and finding themselves despite all the heartbreaks they endured in their lives. Despite everything that life has had to thrown at them, they thrive and they win. It is the best part of the book and I live in those moments. “It was filled with dedicate flowers that, against all odds, found the strength to turn their faces to the sunshine and thrive.” I think everyone needs a bit of this in their lives and remember healing really is just “sand, pressure and time”.
A broken woman . . .
Crystal learned long ago that love brings only pain. Feeling nothing at all is far better than being hurt again. She guards her wounded heart behind a hard exterior and carries within her a deep mistrust of men, who, in her experience, have only ever used and taken.
A man in need of help . . .
Then Gabriel Dalton walks into her life. Despite the terrible darkness of his past, there’s an undeniable goodness in him. And even though she knows the cost, Crystal finds herself drawn to Gabriel. His quiet strength is wearing down her defenses and his gentle patience is causing her to question everything she thought she knew.
Only love can mend a shattered heart . . .
Crystal and Gabriel never imagined that the world, which had stolen everything from them, would bring them a deep love like this. Except fate will only take them so far, and now the choice is theirs: Harden their hearts once again or find the courage to shed their painful pasts.