Secrets well buried.
Until we find the one soul who makes the burden of such secrets just that little bit easier to bear.
Lexington "Lexi" Hart is a senior at the University of Alabama. Surrounded by her best friends, her loving family and having fulfilled her life-long dream of making the Crimson Tide cheer squad, everything is going exactly as she always dreamed it would. But beneath her happy exterior, demons lurk, threatening to jeopardize everything Lexi has worked to achieve.
When events in her life become too much to cope with, Lexi finds herself spiraling down into the realm of her biggest fear. Lexi falls hard, victim once again to the only thing that can destroy her and, on the way, finds herself falling straight into the dangerous tattooed arms of a guy from the wrong side of the tracks.
Austin Carillo, starting Wide Receiver for the Alabama Crimson Tide, must get picked in this year's NFL draft. He needs it. His brothers need it. Most importantly, his mother desperately needs it. Brought up in a world where the poor are forgotten, the sick are left to fend for themselves and no hero miraculously appears to pull you out of hell, Austin had no other choice but to make a living on the wrong side of the law—until football offered Austin the break to get his life back on track.
But when a family tragedy drags him back into the clutches of the gang he believed he had left far behind, Austin finds himself falling. Falling back into criminal ways and falling deep into a suffocating darkness. Until a troubled yet kindred spirit stumbles across his path, where Austin quickly finds he is falling for a young woman—a young woman who might just have the power to save him from his worst enemy: himself.
Can two troubled souls find a lasting peace together? Or will they finally succumb to the demons threatening to destroy them?
I absolutely loved Lexi's character, she was so sweet, strong and endearing. I just connected with her from the get-go, and as the book progressed my heart just ached for her. When we witness what she has to go through on a daily basis, it makes you stop and think about the the severity of her disorder. Because how often do people hide their fears and insecurities around those they love? And how often do they get the help they need to heal? Food for thought minions. Now I don't want you to think this is a depressing read, because it's not okay, it's an incredibly beautiful love story that leaves you with tingles. You see Tillie illustrates that life has a way of bringing you down, with Lexi is trying to heal and stay strong...but she shows it also has a way of bringing you up. Enter Austin Carello *dreamy sigh*. They didn't have the best start to their relationship, but once they clicked everything seemed to fall into place. The saying 'never judge a book by it's cover' was constantly in my mind, because both Hero and Heroine make assumptions about one another, and continue to do so until they're forced together by fate. They both have their own issues weighing them down, but somehow they understand one another like kindred spirits, hiding behind their 'war paint'. Without fully realizing the effect he has on her, Austin helps Lexi silence her demons just by being near her. Throughout the novel Tillie gives both characters a lot of depth and I think it's hard not to fall in love with them, the struggles they endure and the way in which they pull each other through is remarkable. It leaves you in a swoony, tingly, happy mess. Apart they struggled and life seemed too hard, but together their was peace and hope.
...sometimes, someone could stumble unannounced into the train wreck that is your life and begin to pull you out of the heavy rubble weighing down on your chest.
"I was never good enough for you, Pix. I'm trash; you're gold. I ain't having you brought into this place of shit trash world I live in. You deserve more than me, more from life. So much fuckin' more. I'll only ever drag you down."
" You're no burden to me, Pix. Your weight ain't nothing. You're safe in my arms, where you fuckin' belong."
The ending was just achingly beautiful, and I admit there were definitely tears in my eyes. My rating is therefore 4.5 breathtaking stars. I fell in love with the characters, and story from page one minions. The writing style was brilliant, especially when inside Lexi's head, and the whole flow of the book was just flawless. It was brave of Tillie to share something so personal with us through her characters, and I just have so much respect for her right now. She delivers another amazing love story, and my girl crush for her has grown soooo much (though I didn't think it was possible, 'cause I'm already stalker obsessed). I'm also really looking forward to the next book, since we were given more hints about Ally's story. I 100% recommend this, especially if you're looking for something that's real, and Tillie is definitely an author you want to keep an eye on minions.