The fact is, she doesn’t know who she is, she tried to run, to hide and make a life for herself, but that backfired. No one knows her except her best friend Rachel, if that’s even an adequate word for what they are to each other. Rachel helps her build a life for herself below the radar, which is fine until the unthinkable happens knocking Em out of her unfeeling cocoon. When her house of cards comes tumbling down she runs again, until the one person who can change her mind finds her.
Due to adult situations, language and possible scenarios that may be difficult for some readers to handle, take a breath before you start this one. It’s gritty and not pretty. Nothing is pretty here. Whiskey is a good thing.
This is an emotionally gripping story of a girl trying to survive, to move past the abuse she endured. Your heart will break for her, you will question her decisions, you may even begin praying to the kindle Gods that she gets a HEA (I know I did). Her path to recovery isn’t an easy one, but despite her fight against them, she builds a group of people that have her back, no matter what. And they are the key to her survival.
As the author warns, this book covers a tough subject matter, one of sexual abuse. We are introduced to Emery on her sixteenth birthday. A time that should be full of fun flirting and self-discovery. But Emery is an emotionless shell, after enduring three years of abuse at the hands of someone she should have been able to trust. Under the unlikeliest of circumstances, she meets her savior, a bold teen named Rachel. Their commonality, they were both just busted for buying drugs. As they await their fate, the quickly bond and Emery shares her secret for the first time. From there, their bond becomes unbreakable. With Rachel’s help, Emery makes plans for a new life, one with peaceful nights and no more pain.
Escaping her past, Emery takes on a number of alias’ (to avoid confusion, I won’t list out them out). She alienates herself and avoids contact with anyone but Rachel.
While Emery hides behind her alias’, hiding emotions behind lies, she manages to build a growing support team.
*Rachel – the ultimate best friend. I loved her compassion and understanding with Emery. She’s resourceful and will do anything for her BFF.
*Derrick – the man behind Rachel’s plans. He provides new identities and a clever financial plan to fund Emery’s new life. While he may not do everything on the right side of the law, he does things with good intentions, so I can’t fault him in anyway.
*Noah – *sigh* the man who gets Emery to laugh for the first time, the man who slowly pulled away her layers. My heart went out to him with how things ended.
“I won’t ever know how bad you hurt because you don’t let anyone see that. That’s not my fault, that’s yours.”
But have no fear, he has his own HEA.
*Tim – the cop who wouldn’t let Emery give up. The game changer. He is the first man to get to her heart, to get her to let go of her emotions and feel for the first time. To feel love and passion.
Emery does a good job of hurting all of the above people in her moment of self-pity, but given the circumstances, it was expected.
When the world crushed the hope she had now, the promise of tomorrow whispered “try again” in her ear.
She gets some tough love in return and its just the motivator she needs to move forward, along with a boy with a love for superheros.
I’d be remiss is I didn’t mention Lucas. This young boy enters Emery’s life and for the first time, shows her hope. That she can make a difference in someone else’s life. That she can take away someone’s pain. And that she can heal someone, like she so desperately needed to heal. Lucas also gives Emery confidence and a direction with her life. Tragedy nearly causes her to give up on everything, but it is Lucas who ultimately is the motivator to make things right again.
This book is emotionally draining, but it has a strong message about fighting back, surviving, and helping others. Emery’s road to recovery isn’t easy or pretty, but with the love of her support team, peace does come, with an ending that will warm your heart.
Side note: Loved the Stella reference from the By A Thread series!
*An ARC was received for an honest review.