(Evergreen Grove Series, #2)
by Elisabeth Staab
He’s living a lie.
Dante Ramos: Champion. Ladies’ man. Party animal. Women want him, and men either want to be him or put his lights out for sleeping with their girlfriends. It’s all an act. Inside, he’s so full of self-loathing he’s on a fast-track to self-destruction.
She’s living in the shadows.
Meeting Michelle at a support group for assault survivors shows Dante a new world of possibilities. Finally, someone in his life might understand him, and she creates in him a fierce need to protect. Trouble is, Dante lives his life in the spotlight, and the only thing Michelle wants is a place to hide.
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I started reading this on 8/25/2015 and read for a few hours. Then then picked it up the next night on 8/26/2015 and didn't put it down until 2:45am on 8/27/2015. On a work day!!! I took a few extra minutes to thank Elisabeth via email and posted on my FB page just so people knew that yes, it was true, TWO FORTY FIVE in the freaking morning on a Thursday and I just finished reading this! Why? I couldn't put it down. I had to know how it was going to turn out.
This was definitely a story of survival. Both Dante and Michelle have their story to share with the reader and while they are each victims, they never once play the victim card. They each have fought hard to live normal lives. Or to try to get back to whatever ‘normal’ is to them now. They each have dealt with the aftermath differently; Dante in a self-destructive manner – partying, sleeping around, fighting, and drinking. Michelle originally stayed home and didn’t venture out. Now, however, she realized she needs a fresh start and knows that “home” isn’t an option.
The reader has a clue of what happened to Dante in the previous book (if you read At the Stars (Evergreen Grove Series #1) then you know what I’m referring to, if you haven’t, while this can be read as a standalone, I would say you’d like to read the previous book as it’s a good story), with details being sprinkled throughout the beginning until we get all the info at the end. We get Michelle’s story sooner.
I will say that one of the things I LOVED about this story was that Dante is the main focus between the two and made to be the one that needs to deal with his past more so than Michelle. Michelle is there more as a person who understands and can be there for him. To have a MALE be a victim of what society deems to be more of a ‘female’ thing. It’s a taboo subject, but Elisabeth did a beautiful job addressing the matter and bringing difficult conversation to light.
Another reason why I loved this book was that there isn’t the traditional angst/issue/miscommunication between the hero and heroine that tends to happen in the story that causes the big ‘rift’ between the two until they reunite. THANK YOU! These two have enough going on without a simple lack of communication causing them to ‘breakup’. Especially since until that point, communication is key for them both.
Overall, a beautifully written story with well-developed characters that tugs at your heart. Looking forward to the third installment, which is AJ’s story.
Rating: 4 Stars - LOVED IT
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author, Elisabeth Staab, in exchange for an honest review. This review is my own opinion and not a paid review.