Author: Debra Doxer
Title: "Breaking skin"
Main characters: Cole Dempsey and Nichole "Nikki" Taylor
“Deep down, we all want a no-matter-what kind of love.”
Dancing is like magic. It makes me disappear. When I dance I’m not a sister or a daughter, not a lover or a friend. I exist in the moment, onstage, where I turn pain into art and pretend the illusion is real. My past is an abomination and my future is unwritten, but my present is pure, fluid, and focused. I’m content, or at least I think I am, until the night I meet a man who makes me want more.
He’s broken, just like me, but in different ways. He’s older and nothing like the men I’m used to. Compared to him, they’re all boys, immature and insipid, while he’s a force of nature, confident and virile. Virile is a word I’ve never used before, and I only use it now because he embodies it so completely.
At first, he fights the attraction between us almost as hard as I do. But when words like destiny and soulmate whisper through my thoughts, how can I ignore them? He can have any girl he wants, but he looks at me as if I’m the girl he’s waited for his whole life. How can I tell him I’m not that girl?
I wish I were enough for him, wish I were whole. But beneath my facade, I’ve been falling to pieces for a long time, and I don’t know if I’m strong enough to resist the downward momentum.
First of all, let me just quickly say that I received the ARC of this hauntingly beautiful story in exchange for my honest review and I can concentrate on all the feelings it gave me... :) honestly, I signed up for it, because the synopsis intrigued me... but I absolutely did not expect that this story will be this... emotional and stunning... I have no quotes to share with you today, but that is in no way indication of the lacking writing style... just the opposite :) it was so beautiful, that for me to just pick a few sentences or part of a scene was simply impossible... without bigger context, those words would not convey all the emotions behind them... but make no mistakes, I was deeply moved by this book... now that we have this little intro behind us, how about I will try my best to tell you something more about this book that will convince you to give it a try, without spoiling you anything :)
I'm gonna start with our main couple :) Nikki is a 21-year-old ballerina, who meets Cole one night in a bar... she doesn't know it at that time, but he's eleven years older than her... there is a very hot attraction between them, and they spend the night together... but since the timing couldn't be more wrong in both of their lives, it ends only with that one night... that's the beginning of the book, and in the very next chapter we skip ahead two years, when they finally meet again :) but before I go into a bit more details about their slow building relationship, let me tell you more about them as individuals... I absolutely love books with flawed characters... I don't expect my heroes and heroines to be perfect... quite the contrary, their flaws and mistakes make them more human and real in my eyes... as long as a grown up person doesn't act like a spoiled brat, I'm more than ok with flaws :) and in this case both of our main characters have went throuh quite a lot in their respective lives and it took its toll on them... Nikki is numb and indifferent to most people and things, or at least she appears that way... there is a very dark story involving her and her family... I won't go into details, but you can sort of figure it out throughout the book, before finally learning all the details from her... Cole is an ex-hockey player fighting demons of his own... years of brutal sport changed him irreversibly... and that's just one of his problems... I don't want to go into too many details, because we get to know them both in the span of this whole book, so I'd rather you take that journey with them... it's definitely worth it :)
Besides that first night, theirs is actually quite slow building relationship... :) when they met that first time, both of them needed an escape from reality... and two years later they meet again under unusual circumstances... again, I can't get into too many details, I'm just gonna say this: Nikki is unexpectedly taking care of her niece, Langley, and Cole is the next door neighbour :) but since that whole situation is complicated, it's not like they fall into each other arms the minute they see one another ;) yes, the mutual attraction is definitely still there, but there's also everything else, the reality of all the differences between them and weight they carry on their shoulders... it's not easy, but with passing time, they realize how much more there actually is between them... and what started as a one night stand years ago, turns into a friendship, and then into something more...
Besides our main couple, there were quite a few secondary characters... I wasn't a fan of all of them, but each of them played a role in this story... I have to start with a person that I had the most problems with: Renee... she's Nikki's sister and... I have to admit I had troubles understanding her actions... although, I can't really judge her too harshly, cause she has a past of her own... it's all very complex and not easy to explain in a few sentences... then of course there's Langley, Renee's sister and Nikki's niece :) she was a sweet girl, who you just want to shield from some of the stuff she experienced and witnessed... there were of course much more people, but some of them I can't describe here, because they appear much later in the story... and some of them I'm just leaving out on purpose, so you'll have a wonderful surprise along the way :) but I do need to mention Siegfried... Nikki's dog :) I'm a sucker for dogs :) so each book that has a dog in it automatically gets additional points from me :) and this one was no exception :) he definitely was the scene-stealing hero in a few unexpected moments :)
I was going back and forth throughout this whole book, thinking about how I will write my review, how I will rate this story... and I have to say, I usually don't have this problems... but this time... this book... really did a number on me... in the best possible way ;) I absoltely did not expect the writing style to be so beautiful, raw and emotional... and we have chapters in 2 POVs so we can see into the minds of both our main characters... but besides that, the language, the way this author creates sentences... *sighs* she's a new discovery for me, and this is her first book I've read and it's always a gamble... you never truly know what to expect with a brand new author for you... you can read reviews, ask your friends about thier opinions, but ultimately you never know... and when you unexpectedly discover a beautiful gem... it's the best kind of a surprise... :) I did not expect to connect so much with the main characters... I did not expect to tear up at the beautiful ending... I did not expect a lot of things about this book... it really blew me away... was it perfect? absolutely not... there were times when I wanted to yell at the characters to do or say something else, but at the same time I understood why they were acting that way... I loved that there were no magical solutions for the very real problems and struggles all of them were going through... but what I loved the most is how honest and vulnerable this story was... I felt those raw emotions when I was reading it... my heart was breaking and aching for Nikki and Cole so many times... it was a hard and long journey, but it was sooooo worth it... I just hope I was able to convince you to try out this beautiful gem... I can wholeheartedly recommend it... :)
Be sure to grab a copy of this amazing gem :)
a Rafflecopter giveaway About the author:
Debra Doxer was born in Boston, and other than a few lost years in the California sunshine, she has always resided in the Boston area. She writes fiction, technical software documents, illegible scribbles on sticky notes, and texts that get mangled by AutoCorrect. She writes for a living, and she writes for fun. When her daughter asks when she’ll run out of words, her response always is, “When I run out of time.”