Kindle format given by author for review/eARC
Nineteen-year-old Whit Conrad leaves her conservative Pennsylvania home for sunny California, looking for independence, a fresh start, and a place to stash her grief. She promptly finds a job at a tattoo parlor, a craptastic first apartment, and one friend—Ryan—who is a little less friend, a little more benefits.
Deo Beckett is a soulful surfer with a passion for tattoos and beautiful women. On the eve of his twenty-second birthday, he finds himself living with his grandfather, recently unemployed, and seriously adrift. He doesn’t know much about what he wants out of life, but he does know his current situation isn't cutting it.
When Deo meets Whit, she’s all sexy makeup and fierce, smart-ass fun. It doesn’t take him long to see past her tough shell. And when he gets a good look at what's under all the superficial stuff that usually gets his attention, it leaves Deo wondering if there might be more to life than living fast and free.
Too bad Whit has a past she doesn't plan on sharing—no matter how hot Deo is. She might want him, but she knows better than to let her guard down.
Deo falls for Whit, and falls hard. But everything about her, down to that mysterious tattoo and the way she thrashes in her sleep, tells him that the girl he loves is hiding something. And the more he pushes for answers, the more Whit pulls away.
Having your guard up is one thing, but are the lengths Whit goes to to protect her secret worth throwing away the second chance she has at happiness with Deo?
My Take:First of all, I just LOVE this cover! I was sold on the book before I even read the synopsis. Ok...now on to the goods. As some of you know, I'm a fan of Liz Reinhardt's and when she asked if I'd be interested in reading her new book that she wrote with Steph Campbell, not only did I say yes, but HECK YES! This is my first book by Steph Campbell and since this is a collaboration, I tried to see if I could pick out who wrote what. I have a guess, but who knows if I'm right. Anyway, what I found was a story I didn't want to put down and characters that I fell in love with.
We meet Deo first, so I'll start with him. He's twenty-two and really hasn't figured out what he wants to do with his life. All he really thinks about is surfing and girls. However, there is a deeper side to Deo. He has had a bit of a troubled relationship with his father and that has shaped that decisions he's made in his life. His dad took off to pursue his dreams, leaving Deo and his mom behind. Because of that abandonment, Deo tries hard not to be like his father. As a result, he is not exactly an overachiever. Not to say that he isn't smart, because he is. He just lacks some motivation and incentive to get a move on his life. Then he meets Whit.
Whit is a bit of a mystery at first. She's left her life in Pennsylvannia behind to go to school in California. Whit has only allowed herself to open up to two people since she moved to town. She has a story to tell for sure. Whit wasn't at all prepared for Deo. Not only is she a good influence on him, but he made her feel again and because of his honesty and openness with her, she begins to let him in little by little. I won't say anything else about her, because that is a big part of the story. What I will say is that I was glad when we started to see glimpses of her opening her heart to Deo. He really was so sweet and patient with her. I think his hippy upbringing helped to keep him mellow in stressful situations. LOL
I haven't read many collaborations, but I thought that the authors did a great job of keeping the story fluid. I never felt like there was a gap in the storyline. As always, I look forward to reading more of Liz's work and am now anxious to get started on Steph's other books.
Finally, I have to say that I went through so many different emotions in this book. It's sweet, tender, funny, spicy, and a little bit sad. It's a story about a couple finding trust, love, and comfort in each other. Because there is some mature content, I would recommend this book to anyone over 18. Definitely check this one out!