Overview My first memory was of a slap, hard across the face: the sting on my cheek and the jarring of my bones as I slammed back into my bed. It was my dad who had hit me.

I had been four.

Most of my memories were much of the same and no one ever saw, no one ever fought to help, no one ever cared.

Then we moved.

My new neighbor cared, rescued the twelve-year-old I had been from a beating. Always thought I'd suffer the nightmare alone, I was wrong.

Mace Donati saved me that day in all the ways a person could be saved.

And his daughter, Mia, she became the friend I had always wanted, my conscience when my own faltered, the light that led me home when I had lost my way.

The girl who grew into the only woman I would ever love.

But when you realize you're more like your father than the good people who took you in and gave you a home, the only way to return their kindness is to let them go.

I let them go, got so far lost in the shadows I couldn't remember who I was anymore. Mia never gave up on me. She fought for me, kept the light on so I'd find my way back.

And when I did, life threw us a curveball. I had to hurt Mia in order to save her.

But when my past comes back to haunt me and I almost lose her, I'm ready to fight for her...fight to find a way back into her heart while keeping the demons from my past from finishing what they started.

Cole Campbell



Purchase Links: Amazon  
Publishing Date: February 9, 2016
Stars: 4.5 
My Review: 4.5 never be alone stars. The novel jumps between Cole and Mia's points of view which makes for an interesting story as you watch them grow up, deal with their awareness and attraction to each other and ultimately fall into one another. Mia is such a good balance to Cole and vice versa which really gets you to like them together. The writing takes you on their journey and keeps you interested. 

"You're not alone, Mia. You've got your dad, Aunt Dee and Dylan."
"And you. Don't forget you."
"I'm not family."
"Sure you are. You're here more than Aunt Dee and she's my aunt. I like having you here; I like you, Cole."
His voice sounded funny when he said, "I like you, too, Mia."
"Good, now stop killing Ken. He doesn't like it."

Mia first becomes aware of Cole as attractive when she's 16. She knows he's older than her but that doesn't stop her from checking him out or from her body craving him. He's the star in her fantasies and she begins dating guys her own age in hopes of distracting herself. She realizes that's exactly what she's doing, too. As she gets older, her crush on Cole changes in nature to a deeper feeling, one she doesn't even want to label. 

Cole becomes more than aware of 16 year old Mia but knows he has to keep his distance. For one, she's a minor. Second, he isn't worthy of her. When he makes the decision to walk away from Mia and her father, Mace, it hurts him quite a bit when Mia throws it back in his face. She's the light to his dark and when he can't take it any longer, he returns to work with Mace but keeps his distance from Mia.

"Does it bother you?"
"Your crude mouth? No."
"You sure?"
"Yeah, I like it."
He moved then, right against my side, his finger lift my face to his. He said nothing, but pressed his crude mouth to mine in the sweetest of kisses.

The two don't do distance well since Mia is a persistent one. She gets in Cole's face, she demands his attention and she needs his protection. When her father dies, Cole knows he can't let anything happen to her and he finally starts crumbling on his resolve to stay away from her. The two finally come together and not a moment too soon as betrayal comes barreling into their lives like a freight train.